Capiaux Cellars Garys' Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The winemaking style is a blend of classic and contemporary, utilizing cutting edge fermentation equipment paired with natural hands on winemaking, our emphasis is on balance. All the wines are naturally fermented, unfined and unfiltered to preserve innate flavors and aromas. Minimal new oak is used, usually 33%.
Sean Capiaux has an established and notable career at prominent wineries around the world which include: Jordan, Pine Ridge, and Peter Michael in California; Macari, Jamesport and Schneider in Long Island, NY; and Houghton's in Australia. In 1994 Sean launched his own label, Capiaux Cellars, and he presently works as winemaker for O'Shaughnessy winery in the Howell Mountain appellation of Napa Valley.
Sean graduated from California State University, Fresno with a B.S. in Enology and a minor in Chemistry. He began his career at Jordan Winery in Sonoma County's Alexander Valley where he worked for two years before joining Houghton Winery located outside Perth in Western Australia. After working the harvest in Australia, Sean returned to the United States to work as the assistant winemaker at Pine Ridge Winery in the Stags Leap district of Napa Valley. Two years later Sean joined Peter Michael Winery in Calistoga as the assistant winemaker where he worked for four years.
In 1996, Sean and his wife Gina moved to New York so that his wife could attend Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in New York City. As a bicoastal winemaker, Sean continued to produce Capiaux Pinot Noir in California while also working as the winemaker for Macari Vineyards, Jamesport Vineyards and Schneider Vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island, NY. In 2001, they returned to the Napa Valley to start up a new winery, O'Shaughnessy Estate Winery in the Howell Mountain appellation. Presently Sean produces his Capiaux Cellars Pinot Noir and O'Shaughnessy Cabernet at the newly completed O’Shaughnessy winery.
Perhaps the most highly regarded appellation within Monterey County, Santa Lucia Highlands AVA benefits from a combination of warm morning sunshine and brisk afternoon breezes, allowing grapes to ripen slowly and fully. The result is concentrated, flavorful wines that retain their natural acidity. Wineries here do not shy away from innovation, and place a high priority on sustainable viticultural practices.
The climatic conditions here are perfectly suited to the production of ripe, rich Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These Burgundian varieties dominate an overwhelming percentage of plantings, though growers have also found success with Syrah, Riesling and Pinot Gris.
One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).
In the Glass
Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.