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‘Jancis Robinson’ reports on the 2013 harvest and Chanin wines

‘Jancis Robinson’ reports on the 2013 harvest and Chanin wines

View Full Article contributor and Master of Wine, Julia Harding, gives her report on the 2013 harvest, from the “Wine Summit,” held in October, by the California Wine Institute. It’s a greatglimpse into this year’s harvest both at Chanin Wine Co. and other producers around the state. According to Harding, “responses point to a vintage that may be even better than the lauded 2012”!

High hopes for California 2013


I’m just back from a week’s immersion in California wines thanks to the ‘Wine Summit’ organised by the California Wine Institute for around 20 international journalists and buyers. The focus was not so much on visiting producers as on tasting some of the state’s top wines in focused tastings, with plenty of opportunity to meet producers at the various lunches and dinners, where more wines were poured and tasted. (With apologies to vegetarians, I probably ate more meat last week than in the rest of the year so far.)

We did take a drive up to a high point on Gallo’s MacMurray Ranch in Sonoma to get this great view of the Russian River Valley. The Indian summer – in the low eighties at midday though so much cooler morning and evening – was the culmination of what is being seen as a very good to excellent vintage, as the following snippets, gathered throughout the week, make clear. I have included the dates to make sense of the comments about finishing ‘next week’, etc. A few producers had already completed the harvest, most were more than half way through, and none could really spare the time away from the vineyard or winery to take part in one of the week’s events. But they generously did so. Their early, understandably tentative, responses point to a vintage that may be even better than the lauded 2012.

Gavin Chanin, Chanin Wine Company, Santa Barbara (1 Oct): A great year in Santa Barbara. Ripe fruit – seeds brown and stems ripe – and silky tannins. Long cool season, especially cool and slow ripening in August after warm June and July. All his Pinot was ready to be picked in the same week rather than the usual four weeks – unusual, for example, for the Los Alamos vineyard and Sta Rita to be ready at the same time – a sprint finish. No rot. They hand-pick at 2 am (with lights and pit helmets) to make sure the fruit is cool when it comes into the winery.