Jeb Dunnuck called our 2020 Vintage “Straight-Up brilliant across the board”
These latest releases from Gavin Chanin are pretty much straight-up brilliant across the board. Gavin pulls from some of the top sites in Santa Barbara County and favors a little bit of stems depending on the vineyard and aging in mostly neutral barrels. These are pure, classic, incredibly impressive wines that offer plenty of enjoyment in their youth, yet they can also evolve and age gracefully. As I write in the reviews, these wines are rarely about power and opulence and shine for their remarkable elegance, purity, and finesse. I love the wines.
2020 ‘Los Alamos Vineyard’ Chardonnay– 94 Points
Classic high-quality Chardonnay notes of orchard fruits, classy oak, brioche, and honeysuckle all emerge from the 2020 Chardonnay Los Alamos Vineyard, a medium-bodied, pure, balanced, straight-up impressive white from this team. With plenty of mid-palate depth, it brings bright acidity, good precision and focus, and outstanding length, and while I like it today, I see no reason this won’t evolve for 7-8 years, if not over a decade.
2020 ‘Bien Nacido Vineyard’ Chardonnay– 94+ Points
The 2020 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard is classic Bien Nacido, with its iodine, mineral, and chalky notes as well as ripe apple and pear-like fruits. These carry to a concentrated, focused, vibrant Chardonnay with good mid-palate density, bright acidity, and a masculine, structured style on the palate. It’s borderline racy and acidic, yet it has good depth, balance, and length, and it’s going to age beautifully.
2020 ‘Sanford & Benedict Vineyard’ Chardonnay– 95 Points
Coming from one of the top sites in the Sta. Rita Hills, the 2020 Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard spent 15 months in 20% new French oak. A brilliant effort, it reveals pure, crisp notes of orchard fruits, chalky minerality, honeyed flowers, and brioche. These carry to a medium-bodied Chardonnay that stays tight and compact on the palate, with good mid-palate density, integrated yet high acidity, and a distinct salinity and minerality on the finish. It’s another brilliant, classy, age-worthy Chardonnay that should keep for 10-15 years.
2020 ‘Zotovich Vineyard’ Chardonnay– 95 Points
The 2020 Chardonnay Zotovich Vineyard reveals a light gold hue to go with a pure, classy array of sauteed apple, honeyed flowers, toasted bread, and a touch of chalky minerality. It’s pure Sta. Rita Hills on the palate, with tons of salinity as well as medium-bodied richness, wonderful concentration, bright acidity, and a great finish. It might be my favorite in the lineup, but you can’t go wrong with any of these 2020 Chardonnays from Chanin.
2020 ‘Los Alamos Vineyard’ Pinot Noir– 95 Points
The 2020 Los Alamos Vineyard Pinot Noir saw 15% stems and spent 15 months in just 15% new French oak. Its translucent ruby hue is followed by a solid perfume of spiced red fruits, flowers, peppery herbs, and flowers. Beautiful on the palate as well, it’s medium-bodied, has a pure, seamless mouthfeel, flawless balance, and a great finish. This is a stunningly ethereal, elegant expression of Pinot Noir to drink over the coming decade.
2020 ‘Zotovich Vineyard’ Pinot Noir– 93+ Points
Much darker and more exotic, the 2020 Zotovich Vineyard Pinot Noir has more mulled red (and some black) fruits as well as roasted herbs, forest floor, and gamey nuances to go with a medium-bodied, supple, rounded, structured style on the palate. It’s more firm, focused and tannic, and will benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age.
2020 ‘Sanford & Benedict Vineyard’ Pinot Noir– 94+ Points
From a site on the other (southern) side of the appellation, the 2020 Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Pinot Noir saw quite a bit more stems and was fermented with 40% stems and brought up in 20% new oak. It has a wonderful nose of ripe red and black currants as well as subtle woodsmoke, dried herbs, and forest floor. This carries to a pure, medium-bodied, balanced Pinot Noir with ripe tannins, nicely integrated acidity, and a great finish. It opens up nicely with time in the glass and will no doubt benefit from another year or two of bottle age.
2020 Reserve Syrah– 91 Points
Lastly, the 2020 Syrah Reserve is all Syrah sourced from the Donnachadh Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills. It was only 50% destemmed and spent 15 months in new barrels. Bright red fruits, peppery herbs, and floral notes all emerge on the nose, and it’s medium-bodied, with crunchy tannins, nicely integrated acidity, and outstanding length. It reminds me of a solid Saint-Joseph and is ideal for drinking over the coming decade.