Vintage 2016
Wine Type Red
Varietal Pinot Noir
Region Sonoma County
Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren
Chateau St. Jean has a long history of crafting expressive Pinot Noir from various regions throughout Sonoma County. This passion for excellence in Pinot Noir has led Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren to the Sonoma Coast, where the Benoist Ranch sits close to San Pablo Bay in a Sonoma corner of Carneros.

93 Points - Wine Advocate

“Aged in 50% new French oak for 16 months, the medium ruby-purple colored 2016 Pinot Noir Benoist Ranch springs forth with floral notes of lilacs and rose hip tea with hints of exotic spices in the background over a core of black raspberries and blackberries plus a touch of chargrill. Full-bodied, rich and velvety in the mouth, it packs in the spices, finishing on a lingering perfumed note.” - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate, October 2018


Tasting Notes

Always a showy wine, with aromas of cherry and ripe brambleberries, accented with earth and herbs typical of this growing region. Vibrant, with bright acidity and flavors of black cherry, black tea and a touch of spice led by cloves and cinnamon.

Vintage Notes

The extended drought caused concern as the 2016 growing season began, but welcomed winter rain hinted at the relief to come. After a relatively dry January significant rainfall arrived in February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers. While still early by historical standards, picking began about a week later than 2015, in mid-September. A traditionally sized harvest followed the lighter vintage of 2015, and the extended mild season helped balance the acids and add complexity to the fruit.

Winemaking Notes

The Pinot Noir grapes were handled very gently from vineyard to winery. Fruit underwent a three-day cold soak prior to fermentation. Free run juice was drained and the new wine sent directly to barrel to complete malolactic fermentation. The wine was aged for 16 months in 100% French oak (18% new) before being assembled, bottled and allowed an additional six months of age before release.

Vineyard Notes

Pinot Noir is a complex varietal and clones of this variable grape play an important role in expression. A trio of blocks (4D3, 4J, 6E-7) form the basis for this vintage. Benoist Ranch is tucked away in the far Northwest corner of Carneros. Its unique topography is ideally suited for Pinot Noir with its cool, maritime-influenced climate and rocky, volcanic soils.