Chalone has a long track record of making interesting, affordable wines from grapes grown in their vineyard high in the Gavilan Mountain Range in Monterey County. The soil there is laced with limestone, a situation much sought after by winemakers because it's a characteristic of some of the world's best vineyards.
Chalone's 2001 estate-grown Pinot Noir is one of the best they've made in years. Supple and lithe, it has a soft perfume of earth and berries, and carries some of that earth in its taste. Somewhat French in style, it's a beautiful food wine, which should drink well with main courses from Copper River salmon or a roast chicken to summer's barbecue. A delicious bottle for the price.
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Region: Monterey County
Price: About $19.99
Style: Supple and youthful
Food it goes with: Grilled salmon, roast chicken, barbecue
Where you find it: Available at fine wine shops and retailers
--S. Irene Virbila