Clos Pepe Wine

Clos Pepe was a family-owned vineyard and winery set in the heart of the Santa Rita Hills of Santa Barbara County, California that recently leased all of its land to Walt winery. We are continuing to represent these great wines through the finish of their 2014 vintages. 

Of the 29 acres planted in vines, 25 acres are planted in Pinot Noir, and 4 acres in Chardonnay. Pinot Noir is our passion. We make about 800 cases of Estate Pinot Noir each year, and about 100 cases of Chablis-style Chardonnay that is aged without the use of any new oak.

Clos Pepe Estate uses 100% Clos Pepe grapes in all of our wines. We do not source fruit from any other vineyards. We believe that sustainably-farmed Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown at extraordinarily low yields (under two tons per acre, or around 10 hectoliters/hectare) make wines with excellent concentration, complexity, and elegance.

We are non-interventionist winemakers. The real work of winemaking occurs in the vineyard. We have found that growing the grapes and harvesting them at perfect ripeness levels makes winemaking a pleasure. Most technical aspects of winemaking occur when a winemaker has to ‘fix’ a problem with the fruit: not enough acid, not enough sugar, etc. We believe that micro-managing the vineyard and picking the fruit at optimal ripeness makes our work in the cellar easy. Freshly picked, cool bins of fruit are delivered to the winery in the morning. Pinot Noir is crushed cold into small open- top fermenters and allowed to ‘cold soak’ for 2-3 days. Once the native yeasts begin to warm the grape/juice combination (called ‘must’), we inoculate with RC-212 yeast. We use between 25% to 50% new French oak, changing the percentage of ‘new’ oak depending on the intensity and yield of any vintage’s crop.

Chardonnay is pressed cold and fresh, whole-clusters dumped into the press, directly into neutral French oak or small stainless-steel barrels. We add CY-3079 yeast to the juice and allow the fermentation to occur in barrel. We never use any new (or even slightly used) French oak for our Chardonnay, preferring the austere, flinty style of Chardonnay characterized by the fine wines of Chablis, France. Wines are allowed to mature in barrels for 11 to 19 months, and then bottled with minimal fining and filtration. When possible, we bottle our wines without filtering them.

To us, wine is an expression of the vintage and the place where it was grown. We do everything we can to allow the ‘somewhereness’ of the wines to be purely expressed. We do not use chemical means to influence the wines. We want each vintage to be a special expression of the wind, the fog, the sunshine and the soil that define Clos Pepe Estate.

2012 Clos Pepe Chardonnay

The first Clos Pepe Chardonnay put in a bit of new French oak (7%) and with a little time, the oak attributes will integrate beautifully into this bright and structured wine. Complex aromas of lime blossom, apple, vanilla and salt are further developed on the palate with an additional dollop of butter. The wine is a perfect match with seafood, fried chicken and semi-hard cheeses.

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2012 Clos Pepe Pinot Noir

2012 Clos Pepe Estate Pinot Noir: Very complex nose that marries bright red and black berry fruits, baking spice, Asian spice, cherry, cranberry and gorgeous layers of complex dusty earth. The wine is bright, juicy, balanced and nuanced in the mouth. It is unusual for a wine this young to show so much bright fruit and earthy complexity at the same time. With firm acid and great structure, this wine should improve in the cellar for most of a decade, but it also may show early complexity as well, making this a wine that may peak for most palates in 3-5 years (2016-2019)

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2013 Clos Pepe Chardonnay

The new French Oak is a little bit higher this year 20% for a bit more of a luxe cuvee. Always Measault-like in style (for half the price), this may be the best value in white wine in the Santa Rita Hills.  You won’t find many Chardonnay that show like this for under $40. This year’s ‘BF’ struck me with bigger aromas and flavors. Mouth filling and rich in the front and mid-palate, becoming elegant, mineral and structured in a mouth-cleansing finish.  

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2013 Clos Pepe Pinot Noir

“Bigger and richer than the 2012” will likely be the simplest and most repeated definition of the 2013 Pinot Noir from Clos Pepe. It should be a vintage where critics and wine lovers agree—big enough for high scores, elegant enough to match with salmon after a short stint in the cellar. Explosive red and black berry fruits in the nose with oak toast and baking spices. Good grip and chewiness that will please crowds and critics, but will also show enough restraint in the glass to be a fantastic food match.

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Price $68.00 / Bottle
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2014 Clos Pepe Pinot Noir

“Bigger and richer than the 2012” will likely be the simplest and most repeated definition of the 2013 Pinot Noir from Clos Pepe. It should be a vintage where critics and wine lovers agree—big enough for high scores, elegant enough to match with salmon after a short stint in the cellar. Explosive red and black berry fruits in the nose with oak toast and baking spices. Good grip and chewiness that will please crowds and critics, but will also show enough restraint in the glass to be a fantastic food match.

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Price $65.00 / Bottle
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