Antonio Galloni of Vinous Called our 2020 Chardonnay’s Brilliant!
Gavin Chanin presented a compelling set of 2020s. The Chardonnay’s in particular are brilliant. Chanin describes 2020 as a year of two vintages: before the heat and after. Like so many of his colleagues, Chanin dealt with an extremely condensed harvest, as 80% of the fruit came in over just four days at the end of August and early September. I find the Chardonnays offer a bit more depth and site character, but all the wines are super-expressive.
94 Points- 2020 ‘Los Alamos Vineyard’ Chardonnay
The 2020 Chardonnay Los Alamos Vineyard is bright, airy and lifted. In this vintage, the Los Alamos Chardonnay has a bit more texture and mid-palate pliancy than is often the case. That’s not a bad thing at all. In fact, orchard fruit, white flowers, spice and tangerine oil build in the oily, beautifully textured finish.
95 Points- 2020 ‘Bien Nacido Vineyard’ Chardonnay
The 2020 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard is brilliant. A wine of cut and transparency, the 2020 impresses with its crystalline purity and detail. Crushed rocks, mint, white pepper, lemon peel and sage are some of the many notes that develop in the glass. Classy and layered, with exceptional finesse, the Bien Nacido is stellar. I would love to own it.
95 Points- 2020 ‘Sanford & Benedict Vineyard’ Chardonnay
The 2020 Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict vineyard emerges from the original parcel of own-rooted wines planted in 1971. Crushed rocks, sage, mint, citrus and white flowers lend nuance to a bright, airy Chardonnay that is all understatement. The 2020 is not an obvious wine, but for readers who enjoy subtlety and nuance, this is very hard to beat.
95 Points- 2020 ‘Zotovich Vineyard’ Chardonnay
The 2020 Chardonnay Zotovich, a new wine in this range, shows quite a bit of richness and structure. Readers will find a brilliant Chardonnay that emphasizes mineral and savory nuances, not to mention sizzling energy. A wine of structure. The 2020 is such a beautiful wine.
92 Points- 2020 ‘Los Alamos Vineyard’ Pinot Noir
The 2020 Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard is delicate, lifted and ethereal, all of which make it a fine choice for drinking over the next handful of years. Crushed rose petal, orange peel, dried herbs and red berry all grace the 2020. Hints of whole cluster savoriness add further dimension. This is nicely done, and a super-classic expression of Los Alamos.
92 Points- 2020 ‘Zotovich’Vineyard’ Pinot Noir
The 2020 Pinot Noir Zotovich Vineyard is another very pretty wine from Gavin Chanin. Bright and translucent in the glass, with striking purity, the 2020 is beguiling from the very first taste. Crushed red berry fruit, mint, sage, incense and dried flowers are beautifully lifted. I would give this a year or two to soften, as the tannins are pretty evident. A burst of sweet floral notes punctuates the finish.
93 Points- 2020 ‘Sanford & Benedict Vineyard’ Pinot Noir
The 2020 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict presents gorgeous hints of dark red/purplish fruit, rose petal, mint, sage and lavender. The 2020 shows all the signatures of S&B in the smaller scaled style of the year. There’s lovely texture and plenty of class, just less mid-palate than is typical here.
93 Points- 2020 ‘Reserve’ Syrah
The 2020 Syrah Reserve, from Donnachadh, is laced with dark/purplish fruit, lavender, sage, mind and blood orange. The 50% whole clusters work so well here. This understated, beautifully lifted Syrah captures the more delicate side of the year to great effect.
91 Points- 2018 ‘Schock Family Vineyard Pinot Port
The 2018 Pinot Port, from Schock, is a gorgeous, fortified wine that balances vibrant fruit and mid-weight structure, all lifted by bright acids. Scents of leather, spice and menthol end nuance to the dark-fleshed fruit. I can’t say I have too many reference points for fortified wines in Santa Barbara, but this is certainly a fine effort.