Gavin Chanin began his wine career at Au Bon Climat and then started Chanin Wine Company in 2007. In 2011 an association was formed with Bill Price to make wines under the Lutum label (Lutum is Latin for soil or dirt). All of the wines are now made at the winery in Lompoc. I have followed Gavin’s wine career since the very beginning (click on the first article below to read about the early history and click on the second article below to read the most recent article).
THE HOLY TRINITY OF WINERIES
September 15 2011
CHANIN WINE COMPANY & LUTUM WINES
March 13 2015
Here is Gavin’s philosophy on making wine:
We are dedicated to crafting wines that reflect the individual vineyard in which they are grown. We focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, two grapes that are especially revealing of subtle differences in geography, geology and climate. Our grapes are grown in areas where cool coastal winds, diverse marine based soils and a long growing season provide an exciting and unique environment for Burgundian varieties.
The vineyards are the focus of all of our wines and each wine is made from grapes grown at one vineyard and not blended. We search out old vines which allow us to make refreshingly balanced wines at lower alcohol levels than most California “blockbuster” or “cult” styled wines. Through low yields, improved farming techniques and gentle winemaking we aim to create a wine that pairs well with food and is delicious young, but is also age-worthy. All of our vineyards are organic or sustainably farmed.
Our winemaking philosophy is rooted in representing each individual vineyard by emphasizing balance, finesse, and complexity. We avoid excessive alcohol, and modern winemaking additives (such as commercial yeasts, bacteria, enzymes) that can overshadow vineyard characteristics. We also do not filter our wines or use intrusive wine processing machines. The goal is to grow grapes that are so healthy none of the above is needed.
Below are notes on the 2014 Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from Chanin and Lutum. The year 2014 was yet another drought year. The 2014 wines from Chanin and Lutum are a great success and reflect the vintage. As compared with earlier vintages, they are true to form and beautifully balanced with great purity and lots of finesse. The wines are made with the Lutum wines de-stemmed and the Chanin wines made using whole cluster fermentation. In the case of wines made from the same vineyards, the grapes are sourced from different parts of the vineyard for each wine. Having said that, the differences between the wines are very subtle and all are a pleasure to drink with lots of early appeal yet with ability to age into the future. A great idea would be to select a few and do your own tasting /dinner with a group of friends and then buy some to lay away for the future. Over time, the wines will change and develop secondary characteristics and more body. Enjoy some now and more later. That is a win/win!
CHANIN WINE COMPANY
2014 Chanin Wine Company Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley
There were 700 cases of this wine produced. It is a beautifully crafted Chardonnay with a light yellow color and great floral citrus perfume with hints of peach and very subtle hint of spice. With beautiful balance the wine has very pure fruit and the flavors show a complex mélange of citrus and peach with floral spice nuances. Flavorful and showing depth and richness in a very finesseful way, this is a delicious Chardonnay – Outstanding Plus. $40
2014 Chanin Wine Company Chardonnay Los Alamos Vineyard Santa Barbara County
This vintage produced 525 cases. The wine is bright and finesseful with a light yellow color and faintly floral citrus perfume. The fruit is very pure with faint peach nuances and a citrus tinge and a very nice underlying crispness. Understated and very stylistic this is a lovely Chardonnay with a lot of charm and finesse – Outstanding. $35
2014 Chanin Wine Company Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Santa Rita Hills
Only 275 cases of this wine were produced. It is a Chardonnay with a lot of character, flavor, and charm. Light yellow in color the wine has a lovely perfume with floral citrus tinges and faint hints of peach. On the palate it has lovely complex fruit with subtle hints of peach and guava accented by citrus and a faintly floral undertone. Structured and flavorful with beautiful balance this is Chardonnay with great style and elegance with a lot of early charm and great promise for the future – Outstanding Plus. $40
2014 Chanin Wine Company Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley
There were 675 cases of this wine produced. It has a very nice color and a lovely perfume that is brimming with fruit accented by floral spice nuances. The fruit carries through on the palate with a faint floral tinge. With intensity and balance as well as a good underlying structure this is a gorgeous Pinot Noir with lots of early charm that should also continue to evolve and develop for many years as well – Outstanding Plus. $50
2014 Chanin Wine Company Pinot Noir Duvarita Vineyard Santa Barbara County
There were 850 cases of this wine produced. With a very nice color it has a lovely berry tinged perfume with floral/herbal nuances. Rounded and quite lush and supple the flavors show very nice fruit with hints of fresh herbs and spices. Elegant and flavorful this is a Pinot Noir with great early charm – Outstanding. $50
2014 Chanin Wine Company Pinot Noir La Rinconada Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills
There were 425 cases of this wine produced. With a very nice color it has a lovely perfume of cherry and berry fruit accented by floral nuances and a kiss of spice. On the palate the wine is beautifully balanced with an abundance of berry and cherry fruit with a floral accent and a nice underlying crispness. This is a really lovely Pinot Noir with great style and charm – Outstanding. $60
2014 Chanin Wine Company Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard Santa Barbara County
There were 750 cases of this wine produced. It has a very nice color and a lovely perfume with spice tinged berry fruit. Very flavorful the wine has lots of very pure berry fruit again with just a hint of spice. Beautifully balanced with a nice persistence this is a really lovely and elegant Pinot Noir with lots of early appeal – Outstanding. $50
2014 Chanin Wine Company Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills
There were 975 cases of this wine produced. It has a very nice color and a lovely floral perfume with hints of berries and cherries. Elegant and rounded the wine the wine is beautifully balanced and exhibits and abundance of very pure floral tinged fruit. Although it is very appealing now, this is a Pinot Noir that should evolve and develop over many years into the future – Outstanding/Outstanding Plus Potential. $60
2014 Lutum Chardonnay Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Sonoma County
This Chardonnay has a light yellow color and lovely citrus tinged perfume with faint tropical nuances. On the palate it is full, rounded, and lush with lovely fruit showing a tropical tinge and just a hint of spice. With a nice underlying crispness this is a lovely Chardonnay with lots of early appeal – Outstanding. $50
2014 Lutum Chardonnay Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Sonoma County
Light yellow in color this Chardonnay has a lovely perfume with floral citrus tinges. It also has lots of very well defined fruit and a nice underlying citrus tinged crispness. This crispness gives the wine definition and structure and the citrus quality carries through on the long finish. This is a really lovely Chardonnay – Outstanding. $50
2014 Lutum Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills
Light yellow in color with a lovely floral perfume showing a tinge of spice this is an elegant Chardonnay with lots of early appeal. It has well defined fruit with faint citrus and peach nuances and is beautifully balanced with a nice crispness on the finish – Outstanding. $50
2014 Lutum Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley
This Pinot Noir has a very nice color with a lovely perfume showing berry fruit with floral spice tinges. On the palate it has lovely berry and cherry fruit with a slight floral quality and is rounded, supple, and elegant. A very flavorful and beautifully balanced, harmonious wine, this can be enjoyed now or kept for many years into the future – Outstanding Plus. $50
2014 Lutum Pinot Noir Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Sonoma County
This is a lovely very elegant and flavorful Pinot Noir. It has a very nice color a lovely floral spice perfume with hints of berry fruit and a subtle herbal nuance. With lovely floral tinged berry fruit on the palate, the wine has a nicely rendered hint of spice and a nice underlying crispness on the finish – Outstanding. $60
2014 Lutum Pinot Noir La Rinconada Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills
With a very nice color this Pinot Noir exhibits a lovely floral spice perfume with hints of cherry and a faint exotic nuance. With lots of fruit showing floral spice tinged berry fruit the wine has very good depth, structure, and balance. It is lovely now, but also shows great potential for the future – Outstanding/Outstanding Plus. $50
2014 Lutum Pinot Noir Rita’s Crown Sta. Rita Hills
With a very nice color this Pinot Noir has a lovely berry perfume with a faint exotic tinge and a nice floral spiciness. With lots of supple floral spice tinged fruit, it is rounded and balanced and very expressive. This wine is shows a lot of early appeal and should also age gracefully well into the future – Outstanding. $50
2014 Lutum Pinot Noir Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Sonoma County
This Pinot Noir has a very nice color and deep floral perfume with hints of cherry fruit and spice. It is a large scaled wine and is rich, full, and rounded with loads of floral tinged fruit with nice spiciness. Very appealing now, the evolution of this wine will be interesting to watch – Outstanding. $60
2014 Lutum Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills
With a very nice color this wine has lovely spice tinged berry perfume with floral tinges. Balanced and flavorful it is rounded with lots of spice tinged fruit and has a nice crispness on the finish. This is a Pinot Noir that can be enjoyed now or kept well into the future – Outstanding. $60
This article was originally published in The Underground Wineletter on October 22, 2016.