Capiaux Cellars: Delicious 2013 Pinot Noirs from California’s Premiere Vineyards

780_b (1)Capiaux Cellars is among the finest producers of handcrafted single vineyard Pinot Noir in California.   The winery was founded in 1994 by owner and winemaker Sean Capiaux who has had rich experience making wine at Jordan,  Pine Ridge and Peter Michael and today leads the winemaking teams at O’ Shaughnessy Winery on Howell Mountain and Progeny Winery on Mt. Veeder, two outstanding producers of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.

In his winemaking at Capiaux Cellars, Sean has focused on crafting small quantities of
Pinot Noir from outstanding vineyards that express their unique terroir in the bottle.  To sean capiauxachieve this objective, Sean uses a combination of traditional Burgundian and advanced techniques.  He ferments his wines with natural yeast and avoids unnatural additives and influences in the wine.  He uses oak judiciously and employs whole cluster and stems, depending on the vintage.  His wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered after 10 to 15 months in barrel.

The wines are sourced from three main appellations:  Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley and Santa Lucia Highlands.   The vineyards are carefully selected and distinct in character as revealed in the wines, which we discerned in our blind tasting of the wines.   Readers   interested in tasting single-vineyard California Pinot Noir are urged to try these wines. Because of their small quantities, they will difficult to find in many local wine shops.  However, the wines can be purchased on line at

The Wines

Capiaux 2013 Pinot Noir Chimera Sonoma Coast ($30) 90The 2013 Chimera is a fruit-forward wine offering aromas and flavors of red berries and spice. It is pleasant drinking with good flavor intensity, medium acidity and a satisfying finish. A Pinot Noir for early drinking.

Capiaux 2013 Pinot Noir Wilson Sonoma Coast ($50) 90+   This Pinot Noir is sourced from a  vineyard located in Annapolis on the northern section of the Sonoma Coast.  Cool climate in character, it offers fresh red berry fruit with good intensity and purity of flavor,  excellent acidity and a persistent finish.

Capiaux 2013 Pinot Noir  Widdoes Vineyard Russian River Valley  ($42) 90  Widdoes Vineyard is located in the Russian River Valley between the towns of Graton and Occidental.  This wine exhibits ripe and flavorful dark red berry fruit typical of the Russian River Valley.  It also has nuances of toasted oak, an elegant palate, and a long finish.

Capiaux 2013 Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard Sant Lucia Highlands ($50) 92  This is one of the finest vineyards in the Highlands located near Salinas.  The wine exhibits elegance and refinement with pure red berry flavors on the attack.  It is soft and round on the palate and beautifully balanced with richness typical of the SLH.

Capiaux 2013 Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands  ($45) 91  One of Capiaux’s oldest and most popular sources of Pinot Noir,  Garys’ Vineyard  offers ripe dark berry fruit with hints of clove and earth, toasted oak, excellent balance and good tannic grip.

Capiaux 2013 Pinot Noir Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast  ($50) 93  This Pinot Noir is sourced from an outstanding vineyard in the cool and windy Petaluma Gap in southwestern Sonoma County.   The wine displays bright and lively red fruit flavors, moderate to high acidity,  good concentration and perfect balance.   During our tasting, it got better and better in the glass, a sign of an outstanding wine.






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