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Chanin Sanford and Benedict Pinot Noir 2013

Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
  • W&S95
  • RP91
750ML / 13.23% ABV
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750ML / 13.23% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Dark ruby in color, this wine is extremely complex with nuances of black cherry, tobacco leaf and dried earth. The palate is fleshy, with structured tannins and dense, dark fruit on the finish.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 95
Wine & Spirits
This is Gavin Chanin’s second vintage making his own wine from Sanford & Benedict, though he worked with the vineyard as early as 2004 when he was at Au Bon Climat. This comes almost exclusively from an own-rooted Mount Eden selection planted in 1971 on eroded chert and diatomaceous earth. In 2013, Santa Barbara’s oldest pinot noir vines grew a tight, monumental pinot noir with bracing acidity and tannic gravitas. Yet, miraculously, an abundance of fruit springs up out of the stony structure, vibrating with bright cranberry-red acidity and oceanic saltiness that fill the structure with cool, tensile flavor depth. It feels stony yet surprisingly lush. Give it five years or more in the cellar and watch its coltish energy turn into rich complexity.
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
More lively and fresh, the 2013 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard exhibits outstanding notes of sous bois, darker berry (cherries, black raspberries) and plenty of floral characteristics to go with a medium-bodied, focused and crisp style. It's certainly outstanding and like the La Rinconada, should evolve gracefully. The elevage here was 40% whole clusters and 16 months in 15% new French oak. As with all the wines here, it was bottled unfiltered.
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Chanin
Chanin, California
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Chanin Wine Co. is dedicated to crafting wines from Santa Barbara County that reflect the individual vineyard in which they are grown. They focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, two grapes that are especially revealing of subtle differences in geography, geology and climate. The grapes are grown in Santa Barbara County, where cool coastal winds, diverse marine based soils and a long growing season provide an exciting and unique environment for Burgundian varieties.

The vineyards are the focus of all of the wines and each wine is made from grapes grown at one vineyard and not blended. Chanin searches out old vines, and makes wine from some of the oldest in the county. This allows them to make refreshingly balanced wines at lower alcohol levels than most California "blockbuster" or "cult" styled wines. Through low yields, improved farming techniques and gentle winemaking we aim to create a wine that pairs well with food and is delicious young, but is also age-worthy. All of the vineyards are organic or sustainably farmed.

Their winemaking philosophy is rooted in representing each individual vineyard by emphasizing balance, finesse, and complexity. They avoid excessive alcohol, and modern winemaking additives (such as commercial yeasts, bacteria, enzymes) that can overshadow vineyard characteristics. They also do not filter the wines or use intrusive wine processing machines. The goal is to grow grapes that are so healthy none of the above is needed.

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Santa Maria Valley

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A lesser-known but elite AVA within the larger Santa Barbara district, the Santa Maria Valley AVA runs precisely west to east starting near the coast. The valley funnels cool, Pacific Ocean air to the vineyards more inland, allowing grapes a longer hang time to ripen evenly and achieve their full potential by harvest time. Combined with minimal rainfall, consistent warm sunshine, and well-drained soils, it is an ideal environment for grape growing.

Many of the wineries here are small and highly respected, having established a reputation in the 1970s and 80s for producing excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. More recently, Syrah has also proven quite successful in the region. Many vineyards are owned by growers who sell their grapes to other wineries, so it is common to see the same vineyard name on bottlings from different wineries. Bien Nacido Vineyard is perhaps the best-known and most prestigious.

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Pinot Noir

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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.

Perfect Pairings

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.

Sommelier Secret

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.

FLCEC02060_2013 Item# 167438