Perched high in the remote Gavilan Mountain Range, 1,800 feet above Salinas Valley, Chalone Vineyard is a one-of-a-kind wine estate. This is extreme wine country with rare limestone soils, limited rainfall and wide diurnal temperature swings. The unique terroir produces wine that imparts a subtle mineral character with compelling fruit and richness. By California standards, Chalone Vineyard's grape yields are small (less than three tons per acre), but the grapes from this vineyard achieve homogeneity of ripeness and display intense character and superb balance.
The new Pinot Noir clones, planted in 1997, are really showing their potential with the 2005 vintage. The wine is darkly colored and amazingly opulent, with fantastic fruit intensity leaning toward red cherries and strawberries. Firm in body, with big tannins, this wine has amazing texture and length of finish. The ten months it spent in French oak integrated the fruit and tannins into a truly hedonistic glass of wine.
Pair with roasted turkey, seared duck with cherry sauce, grilled salmon and wild mushroom risotto.