Challen Winery is a small Santa Barbara County producer
of premium single vineyard designated Pinot Noirs.
Our grapes are sourced from vineyards of distinction,
whose owners share our passion of Pinot Noir,
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, Lindsay's Vineyard in Santa Rita Hills and Dierberg Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley, as well as, up and coming stars on the Santa Barbara County horizon, Zotovich Vineyard, Bentrock Vineyard, and Radian Vineyard, all of Santa Rita Hills. Our clonal selection includes "Heritage" clones 2A and Pommard 4 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.
Kevin Law, winemaker
Bill Cates, consulting winemaker
In 2014 we were fortunate enough to continue our relationship with some really spectacular vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills and Santa Maria Valley AVAs. We are very pleased to introduce our vineyard designated wine from Lindsay’s Vineyard in Santa Rita Hills. We’ve been fans of Lindsay’s for many years and now we are proud to continue working with Lindsay’s vineyard here at Challen Winery. Our barrel select wine, Jasper is a single vineyard Pinot from the beautiful Dierberg vineyard in Santa Maria Valley. You will notice that the Jasper is a 2013 because we cellared our dear Jasper for an extra vintage before releasing this stellar beauty.
Out of my favorite winery experiences, the one I enjoy the most is the challenge of selecting barrels of wine from different vineyards that complement each other. Finding the perfect harmony is what creates the complexity and uniqueness that many have come to recognize in our Scarlett Pinot Noir. For our 2014 Scarlett Pinot we chose barrels from three vineyards: Zotovitch, Bentrock, and Lindsay’s Vineyard. Our aim was to showcase the Santa Rita Hills AVA and my palate tells me we did it. Here’s wine with black currents, plums, strawberry preserves, cloves, along with a hint of earth and leather. Tannins give it backbone and a lengthy robust finish. Clones 114, 115 and 777 were used in this selection.
Pouring this wine into the glass I’m struck with reminiscences of strawberry rhubarb pie just out of the oven. While I ponder these aromatics, the wine transforms unfolding like a time-lapse image of a rosebud revealing hints of pomegranate, violets and even cardamom. On the palate I find a seductive velvety richness. Okay, a bit much but this is really why we take on the challenges of this prima donna grape. Sitting with a glass of fine Pinot Noir is like being with a fascinating person whose stories keep getting better and better. This one tells a fascinating story. Clones 114, 115, 777
The cool, rocky Bentrock vineyard that we love is in evidence here. Our Bentrock Pinot Noir is a mélange of flavors of chocolate, english garden rose petals, truffles and sandalwood. The soft silkiness of this wine tells me it needs no food pairing to tame the tannins although I found enough subtle tannins to make for a mouth filling wine.
Lindsay’s vineyard has always been one of our favorite vineyards so we delighted to introduce our first vintage at Challen Winery with Lindsay’s vineyard.
A bright ruby red vibrant wine. Aromas of strawberry, red cherries and holiday immediately come to mind, especially cinnamon. Good acidity is always a given from this region along with a pleasing minerality.
Sassafras and dark cherry aromas greet you when you tilt the glass to your lips. This is a beautifully balanced wine – touch of subtle berry fruit sweetness tempered by pleasing acidity. And the integration of this fine wine with French oak speaks to perfection. There’s a mouth filling silkiness on the palate with a lingering finish that reminds one of what a well-defined Pinot Noir is all about.
The first impression when pouring from a bottle of Scarlett is the brilliance of the wine in the glass as the aromatics whirl up giving one a sense of sunshine on grape leaves. Then comes the mélange of crushed red berries – raspberries, strawberries and a hint of dried cranberries tinged with subtle hints of forest floor. The palate exhibits structure and balance leading to a heady silky finish. This masterfully crafted wine can be cellared or enjoyed now.
From Zotovitch Vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills AVA, we selected three clonal varieties of Pinot Noir for the 2013 vintage: 114, 115, and 777. Upon opening, the color is reminiscent of a ruby with flashes of crimson. Discover the aromatic hints of blackberries and cherries then relish the subtle notes of licorice, spice and fresh plums with a mouth filling robustness and a delightfully lingering finish. Our palates tell us we've found the perfect balance for a fine Pinot Noir. Please give it a try and let us know if you agree.
Here’s a delightfully pleasing wine made entirely from one of our favorite clones of Pinot Noir, the Mt. Eden clone. We relish the aromas and flavors the Mt Eden clone offers. Buy a couple of bottles of 2012 Jasper (or better yet, a case), open the first bottle and note the garnet color, which belies the depth of red fruit flavors. Taste the development of complex tones on the nose and palate. Pomegranate and plum come together with cocoa, leather and Moroccan olives. On the palate a smooth long finish becomes more noticeable with each sip and there is a soft touch of tannins promising long cellaring. This is a wine to open now with decanting or lay it down for eight to ten years.
A festive night of wine tasting, delicious hors d’oeuvres, special musical guest, and live & silent auctions. This event will be attended by entertainment industry elite, talent, prominent animal activists, and political leadership.
wine tasting provided by -
Challen Winery, Habit Wines, Grable and Storm
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17
6:00 - 9:00 PM
An evening of spectacular wines paired with a menu by Chef Neal Fraser.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20
The Nest at Redbird, L.A.