2011 Capiaux "Chimera" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

SKU #1129473 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2011 Pinot Noir Chimera is laced with expressive red fruits, flowers and mint. Hints of orange peel and blood orange appear later, adding both brightness and an element of exoticism that is hugely appealing. Medium in body, the Chimera is probably best enjoyed over the next handful of years. It is a gorgeous, beautifully focused wine from Sean Capiaux. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2019. One of Napa Valley’s most talented winemakers, Sean Capiaux is equally comfortable crafting Betty O’Shaughnessy’s fabulous Cabernet Sauvignon-based Napa Valley wines as well as these Pinots, which Capiaux bottles under his own label. The Capiaux Pinots are some of the finest wines readers will find in the $30 price range. Suffice it to say, I was deeply impressed with what I tasted.  (4/2013)

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (14.2% alcohol; Sean Capiaux noted that all of his pinots except for Wilson vineyard were harvested before the rains): Medium red. Fruit-driven aromas of raspberry, cherry, mocha, coffee and smoky oak. Sweet and a bit syrupy, with modest definition and a slightly liqueur-like quality to the red fruit and mocha flavors.  (6/2013)

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Price: $27.99
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Staff Image By: Mahon McGrath | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/9/2013 | Send Email
Those of you looking for earthier domestic Pinot Noir should consider Capiaux’s 2011 Chimera. The nose starts out with warm earth, dried orange peel, rhubarb and beet notes, with the palate offering subdued, earthy cherry, strawberry-rhubarb flavors. Texturally, this wine displays robust acidity and low tannin, which gives it a taut, relatively narrow profile for a domestic Pinot.

Additional Information:


Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).
Alcohol Content (%): 14.2