Monday, December 16, 2013

12/16-Michael Horn visits with Eric Johnson & Gavin Chanin

Eric Johnson - Winemaker, Talley Vineyards
For three generations the Talley family has farmed in the Southern San Luis Obispo County. The tradition began in 1948 when Oliver Talley founded Talley Farms and started growing specialty vegetables in the Arroyo Grande Valley. During the 1970s extensive planting of wine grapes began in the neighboring Edna Valley and Santa Barbara County areas.  After observation and extensive analysis, Oliver's son, Don Talley, was convinced of the potential to grow high quality chardonnay and pinot noir on the steep hillsides above Talley Farms.  Don planted a small test plot in 1982 on the west hillside of the Rincon Vineyard that included chardonnay, pinot noir, Riesling, sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon. Over time the varietal and clonal selections were refined and planting expanded to a total of 165 acres in the Arroyo Grande and Edna Valleys.
Brian and Johnine Talley - Talley Vineyards produced its first wine in 1986 with the production of 450 cases. The winery's first five vintages were produced in a small winery adjacent to one of Talley Farms’ vegetable coolers. In the fall of 1991, a state-of-the-art winery was completed at the foot of the Rincon Vineyard. A 12,000 square foot barrel and case goods storage building was added in 2000, followed by a new tasting room in 2002. Talley Vineyards currently produces about 30,000 cases annually.  Brian and Johnine Talley own and operate Talley Vineyards, while Brian, Todd, Ryan and Rosemary Talley manage Talley Farms.



Gavin Chanin, who was named one of FORBES’ “30 under 30” in food and wine and a “winemaker to watch” by SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, began his winemaking career as a harvest intern at Au Bon Climat and QupĂ©, under the tutelage of winemakers Jim Clendenen and Bob Lindquist, working his way up to assistant winemaker at both labels.
Taking fall quarter off each year from his studies at UCLA to work harvest in California, Gavin also worked harvest in South Africa and New Zealand. He then the traveled extensively in Burgundy and Italy before returning to launch Chanin Wine Co. in 2007.
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.

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