Capiaux Cellars Pisoni Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Sean Capiaux founded Capiaux Cellars in 1994 with the intention of producing small lot, single vineyard bottlings of Pinot Noir, one of the noblest and most difficult varieties to produce. Over the past few decades, Sean has established an impressive career at prominent wineries around the globe. He graduated from California State University with an enology degree in the late ‘80s and began his career at Jordan Winery in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. Sean then traveled to Perth, Australia to assist with winemaking at Houghton Winery, later returning to the U.S. to gain notable experience at Peter Michael and Pine Ridge in California as well as Macari, Jamesport and Schneider in Long Island. In 2000, Betty O’Shaughnessy recruited Sean for her new O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery, where he remains today as president and winemaker, while continuing to produce his Capiaux Cellars Pinot Noir.
Sean’s winemaking style is a blend of classic and contemporary, utilizing cutting edge equipment paired with hands-on and minimalistic winemaking techniques. His philosophy at Capiaux is to produce wines that express the unique terroir from which they came, and to have the inherent flavors of the grape and land be the leading attributes of the wine rather than additives or winemaking influences. Sean sources fruit on a long-term basis from various sites including Garys’, Pisoni, Wilson, Widdoes, and Starscape Vineyards All the Capiaux vineyards are contracted on a “by-the-acre” rather than a “per-ton” basis, which allows them to prune, shoot-thin and drop crop as they see fit. All wines are naturally fermented, unrefined and unfiltered, with minimal use of new oak to preserve innate flavors and aromas.
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.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”