We first met Gavin Chanin in 2010 in San Francisco. He arrived ready to present his 2008 Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs but quickly grabbed the room’s attention, as the front labels of each wine were different. They were paintings; they were Gavin’s paintings. While intrigued by his artistry, we soon found ourselves forgetting the artwork as the first Chardonnay was poured and then the next. The aromatics, acidity, textures, and flavors of his Chardonnays were astounding. Next we tasted his Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir and again were mesmerized by the well integrated use of whole cluster, the aromatics and balance. That tasting and our first meeting with Gavin stuck with us. Fast forward three years and we are now in South Carolina and looking for our first domestic Chardonnay and Pinot Noir producer. There wasn’t any debate over who it needed to be.
Gavin began making wine at the age of 21 and founded Chanin Wine Company at the age of 25. While it takes some winemakers their whole life to find balance in their winemaking, Gavin accomplished it in no time. He sources fruit from Santa Barbara’s most prestigious vineyards; vineyards known for their ability to achieve extreme ripeness, yet what made Gavin stand out from other Santa Barbara winemakers was his lack of interested in ripeness. Gavin was picking his fruit around 4 weeks earlier than other winemakers. While so many were focused on achieving ripeness and high alcohol levels in their wines, Gavin was looking to pick the grapes when they were ready not when he was. We have been collecting Gavin’s wines longer than we have been selling them and while they are delicious now, we can’t wait to drink them with him in 30 years and talk about how they are older than he was when bottled. The life of a prodigy.
“Chanin Wine Co. is dedicated to crafting wines from Santa Barbara County 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 Santa Barbara County, 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, and make wine from some of the oldest in the county. This allows 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.”
– Gavin Chanin