91 Points - Wine Enthusiast
One of the best way’s to find value in the world of wine is to travel off the beaten path a little bit, where prices are driven by wine quality instead of hype. Interestingly, sometimes these lesser known areas have been producing wine for a long time in relative obscurity. Such is the case with the Santa Cruz Mountain areas, which despite being home to such vineyards as Ridge’s Monte Bello and the original Paul Masson and Martin Ray vineyards has not gained the fame of Napa and Sonoma. Today’s Heist comes from Clos LaChance, a new family winery in the Santa Cruz area carrying on the tradition of exquisite wine in this area, while specializing in small “backyard” vineyards in unique spots throughout the region.
The 2008 Clos LaChance Lila’s Cuvee is a red Rhone-style blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Grenache. It is medium purple in color, with a dark, brooding nose of blackberry, blueberry, cassis, and graham cracker. The palate is lighter, medium in body with berry, cherry, and cocoa flavors accompanied by mineral and spice notes, held together with refreshing acidity and round tannins. We snagged this one as a special pre-release, and so are able to offer it at just $30, a 25% discount and a great opportunity to stock up on a versatile red and perfect for the cold winter months ahead.
Fruit for Lila’s Cuvée is sourced 100% from the Clos LaChance Estate Vineyard in San Martin. The 150-acre Estate Vineyard was planted in 1999-2000. Nearly 20 varietals were planted, along with 60 separate clones—providing our winemaker with a spice rack of blending wines. Hot sunny days throughout the growing season, coupled with cool ocean breezes in the evenings, allow for increased grape hang-time and the further development of flavors and complexities. Computerized vineyard maintenance and data recording systems (weather stations, leaf and soil sensors, automated irrigation and fertigation) were also installed on site, ensuring the highest quality fruit possible.
The different varietals Lila’s Cuvée were hand-harvested, sorted and de-stemmed to separate stainless steel tanks to cold soak for up to 72 hours. During fermentation, punch downs took place up to 4 times per day at the peak. Once dry, the wine was drained and pressed to 100% French oak barrels, 30% new, to complete malolactic fermentation and age for 16 months. This wine racked back to tank, blended and bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Appellation: Central Coast
Harvest Dates: Oct. 1-28, 2008
Bottling Dates: May 19, 2010
Release Date: May, 2011
Total Cases: 176
Blend: 36% Syrah, 34% Petite Sirah, 28% Grenache, 1%Mouvèdre, 1% Carignane
Clos LaChance Winery takes its name from the small fenced-in area encompassing a vineyard (Clos) and from co-owner Brenda Murphy’s maiden name. The Murphy’s chose the Hummingbird as the winery’s symbol for both its aesthetic beauty and its ability to keep other birds away from the grapes.
In 1987, co-owners Bill and Brenda Murphy decided to plant a few rows of Chardonnay in their Saratoga backyard for landscaping purposes and to realize their dreams of being vintners. A few years later, the wines produced from this small backyard vineyard were good enough to sell to the public. It was at this point that Clos LaChance formed into a full fledged winery. The first commercially released wines were from the 1992 vintage.
In 1996, in order to ensure a continuing supply of high quality fruit, Bill and Brenda established CK Vines, a vineyard maintenance and installation company specializing in "back-yard" vineyard development throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation. CK Vines is named after the Murphy's two daughters (Cheryl and Kristin). Currently, CK Vines manages 40 acres of backyard vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountain and Central Coast AVA’s.
Clos LaChance Winery & Estate Vineyard is located in San Martin, CA (20 miles south of San Jose). The Murphy’s opened the winery production facility in time for the 2001 harvest, while the Hospitality Center, including tasting room, patio, and banquet and wedding facilities, opened to the public in May of 2002. Adjacent to CordeValle Resort & Golf Course’s 6th hole, the winery is ideally situated and designed to provide visitors with breathtaking views of the Estate Vineyard and surrounding hills.
More at www.closlachance.com.