Extraction Without Floss-Action

As part of my on-going education of the out-of-the-way and basically completely unknown AVAs of Monterey and San Benito Counties, I picked up this Chalone.  Now most wine people have heard of Chalone–it’s a Napa Chardonnay, right?  A Lot of the locals here on the Central Coast have heard of Chalone because they bought Edna Valley Vineyards from the Nivens family–one of the local pioneers and winery-golden-child’s.  But who knows there is a Chalone AVA in Monterey County?  All by itself, not visible from The 101 on the East side of the highway directly across the valley from Arroyo Seco AVA and Greenfield-ish.  You know where Arroyo Seco is, RIGHT?!?!?  Oh boy, we have a lot of work to do here.

Deep ruby but clear.  Not particularly staining. Give it a little air.  An absolutely sumptuous bouquet of cedar, rubber band, pencil lead and dark, ripe fruit.  It is a fruit-forward sorta nuance–but the fruit has a black heart.  Mouth-filling and rich–coating everything with this velvet-blanket of fruit and spice.  Now, it is one thing to see a thick, staining, impenetrable red wine be chewy and mouth-filling.  But I really enjoy finding a wine which is bright and clear and medium-dense which is chewy and mouth-filling.  It feels a little more ‘honest’–where the winemaker concentrated on purity of terroir and fruit and ripeness rather than pure extraction.  Completely over-simplifying it, I know… but still:  You get the idea.  This is a wine which is a big, balanced meal–but you don’t have to floss afterwards.  I can’t help thinking a little ‘Old World’ while the pretty nuances of forest-floor and a good barrel-program line the nose and the taste and all of them continue fully through the finish as the bright acidity and ample tannin take hold.  There IS a touch of alcohol deep in the nose, but really becomes a non-event in the mouth and finish.  Nicely balanced and I am going to search out the 3 or 4 other varietals under this producer’s label.

2011 ANTLE WINES Pinnacalitos de Chalone Antle Vineyard Chalone AVA Monterey Co 14.4



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