Challen Winery is a small Santa Barbara County producer
of premium single vineyard designated Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, and Syrah.
Our grapes are sourced from vineyards of distinction,
whose owners share our passion for wine,
our commitment to quality and our respect for the land.
With Burgundy as our benchmark, we strive to produce
world class wines, with every bottle expressing a sense of place,
a reflection of the "terroir" unique to each vineyard from which it was born.
In this pursuit, we take a minimalist approach to the production of our wines.
Our fruit is from well established vineyard sites, such as, Zotovich, Fiddlestix, Bentrock, and La Encantada Vineyards in Santa Rita Hills AVA, Talley Rincon is Arroyo Grande AVA, Tondre Grapefield Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, as well as, up and coming stars on the Santa Barbara County horizon, Drum Canyon, Bentrock Vineyard, and Peake Ranch, in Santa Rita Hills. Our clonal selection includes "Heritage" clones 2A Pommard 4, Mt. Eden, and Calera; and "Dijon" clones, 113, 114, 115, 667 and 777.
Starting with uniformly ripe, hand picked and hand sorted grapes, we utilize both destemmed and whole cluster fruit in separate open top fermenting vats. Using indigenous and cultured yeasts, primary fermentation usually takes seven to ten days. Afterwards, the "free run juice" is gently pumped into French Oak barrels with the remaining "must" being put into a bladder press and, under low pressure, "pressed juice" is extracted and put into separate barrels. We use only French Oak barrels, predominately Tronçais Forest and Châtillon Forest by Tonnellerie Rousseau, medium toast, 20% of which are new. Racking occurs after completion of malolactic fermentation and then the barrels are constantly "topped" until assembled in blending tanks for bottling. The total time in barrel is sixteen months. Bottling is done without fining or filtering.
Mary Bradley, winemaker
Bill Cates, Consulting Winemaker (from the other side)
A stunning deep garden color invites into a nose of rose garden, candy apple and plum. Bold stone fruit and blackberry with a delicate touch of baking spices enchant the palate. WE 93 Points
Luscious mixed berry cobbler. Think cooked strawberry, cherries and raspberries. Oh wow! Tobacco, leather and earth lend depth and luxury to this stunning wine. WE 93 Points
"Dark aromas of boysenberry and black cherry are sprinkled with plenty of baking spice, particularly star anise, on the nose of this bottling. The palate also shows a full-throttle expression, from dark fruit to violet florals, as the acidity and tannins balance tension and richness." WE 92 Points
"There's an alkaline streak to the nose of this bottling, with aromas of ash and sour cream, as well as more familiar tones of peach peels and honeysuckle. It's very tightly wound on the sip, where Meyer lemon peel and light nectarine meet with a touch of smoke and browned butter, leading into a delicate caramel finish." WE 92 points
Perfect pale peachy pink color, flint, strawberry and pineapple on the nose, palate rich in pineapple and orange, chalk and lively acidity.
Aromas of peach oil and honeysuckle extract make for a very sharp and pungent nose on this bottling. There are sandalwood and oak tones to the palate, with a fresh lemony citrus streak throughout. Wine enthusiast Matt Kettmann 90 pts
Cola, forest floor, earth and violet on the nose. This is a medium bodied Pinot with stone fruit, rosemary and a hint of caramel on the palate. Revel in a lingering finish that reveals nuances with every taste.
Santa Maria Valley AVA. Honey toast, pear and white flower on the nose. honeydew melon, lemon balm and peaches round out the taste. light minerality and lively acidity provide beautiful backbone and structure.
Tobacco, cooked blackberries and leather embrace the nose, luscious plum, cocoa and black cherry round out the palate on this bold and voluptuous wine.
“A very full aromatic experience, this bottling offers mulberry, Luxardo cherry, clove, sarsaparilla and cardamom cream on the nose. The palate offers rich and dark fruit flavors, but it's the Indian-like spices of chai and masala that dominate and make for a memorable sip.” MATT KETTMANN WE 93 Points
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