2010 Chalone "Limited Release" Chalone Pinot Noir (Elsewhere $30)

SKU #1153863 92 points Wine & Spirits

 Those familiar with Calera's ripe yet mineral Pinot Noirs might see a family resemblance in this wine, which grows on limestone- and granite-based soils not far from Calera, just west of the Pinnacles National Monument. It's a robust Pinot Noir, the fruit sappy but also fragrant, suggesting the dry chaparral that grows in these hills. Match its power to twice-cooked pork. (K&L Note - this was reviewed as their "Estate Grown" Pinot - same wine under different label)  (2/2013)

Wine Enthusiast

 Red cherry, red currant, mushroom and sandalwood flavors mark this appealing wine. Bone dry, with good acidity, it’s a fine wine to drink now, but it should also age for quite some time, without necessarily gaining in complexity.  (11/2012)

K&L Notes

Just like the Chardonnay deal we presented a few months back, this is the 2010 Estate Pinot Noir with "Limited Release" added to the label. The "Limited Release" label was used instead of the "Estate Grown" label to give restaurants a wine that had preferential pricing. Again, it turns out they bottled a bit too much with this label so this wine was offered to K&L at a huge discount. This wine is basically half price--a steal! Chalone's unique terroir on a plateau in the Gavilan Mountains has an important niche in California wine history. Chalone Vineyard produced their first commercial vintage in 1966, but viticulture on their estate with its limestone-based soils goes back to the turn of the century. Chalone was given AVA status in 1982 and Chalone Vineyard remains the only winery in the appellation. Grapes are hand-harvested in the cool of night as each individual vine parcel reaches maturity. After careful vinification, the wine was aged for nine months in French oak to add a subtle spice to this bright, concentrated, and ultimately mineral-driven Pinot Noir. From Winemaker Robert Cook: "The mild temperatures in 2010 gave this Pinot Noir a subtle elegance of rose petals that doesn’t occur in all years... The long hang time fostered deliciously ripe, but not over-ripe, Pinot Noir varietal character of wild cherry and blackberry, layered with the Chalone terroir expression of mineral, hibiscus-flower, earth and high-mountain sage."

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Price: $14.99
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Staff Image By: Jim Barr | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/13/2014 | Send Email
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Meant to sell for about $30.00 (and it is a darn good drinking Pinot at that price) in restaurants, this Gem was over-produced and made available to us at half the price. Medium ruby in color, the distinctive nose of raspberries, dried rose petals and red cherries carries over well into a nicely integrated, well structured, bright, and fleshy palate impression. As I mentioned, this lovely Pinot drinks well now, but will improve over the next three to six years. Rusty has informed me that I need to bring home a few cases of this Gem to be one of our house reds for the coming months. 13.5% ABV
Drink from 2014 to 2020

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:

Monterey/Carmel Valley

- These heavily planted regions on either side of the vast Salinas Valley account for much of the mass-produced, commercial wine sold in supermarkets nationwide. In the hills, however, and in sub-AVAs like Chalone and Santa Lucia Highlands, quality is much higher. Pinot noir and chardonnay look to be particularly promising.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.2