Located in the foothills of San Martin, CA, is Clos LaChance Winery, situated on a unique property filled with rich history and beauty. Evidence shows that many years before the existence of Clos LaChance, the area was occupied by the Native American tribe called the Ohlone. For over 6,000 years, the Ohlone inhabited this area, moving throughout valley floor and foothills now known as San Martin to hunt and gather materials. The Ohlone culture was thriving until the introduction of European settlers to the area. In 1772, Pedro Fages, a Spanish colonial explorer, traveled through what is now Santa Clara Valley, settling into the valley that is now the home of Clos LaChance.
After the acquisition of independence from Spain, Mexico divided the Santa Clara Valley into ranchos in 1821.The Clos LaChance property was a part of Rancho San Francisco de las Llagas, which was owned by Carlos Antonio Castro in 1828. Castro used the property mainly for raising cattle, as well as planting over 500 acres of vineyards, and orchards.
The history of the area now known as San Martin began in 1844 when a pioneer named Martin Murphy traveled with his wife and children from Iowa to California by wagon. Murphy led the first expedition of pioneers over the SierraNevada mountain range. Murphy purchased a 9,000 acre parcel from Castro, which is now considered San Martin.
With the discovery of gold in the California hills, thousands of migrants traveled to the area to take a chance at a fortune. When the gold depleted, the miners began to look to farm land as a source of income. Many settled in the San Martin area and began cattle ranching here in the South Valley.
As Murphy settled into his new home in San Martin, he decided to build a chapel, in order to avoid the long trip to Mission San Jose for church services. The chapel was named “San Martin” and was open to all who wandered through. Murphy was described as hospitable, always having his door open to travelers and new settlers. Taking after the church, Murphy eventually named the area of land, San Martin, after his patron saint Martin.
When Murphy died, the property was inherited by his family. The property was purchased by Lazard Lion, and in 1918, there were approximately 40 acres of vineyards producing wine for grapes.
In 1921, the property was sold to Lion’s business partner, Frank Hayes, who maintained the property until the 1950’s. The name Hayes Valley was given to the beautiful valley and rolling hills that encompass Clos LaChance Estate.
Being a good steward of land and resources is a key practice in Clos LaChance’s wine making and wine growing philosophy. Owners Bill and Brenda Murphy are especially vested in the sustainability of the vineyard and winery—creating a legacy for their children, grandchildren and generations to come.
Sustainability is an ever-evolving practice. A member of the Central Coast Vineyard Team, Clos LaChance has also actively participated in the Wine Institute Sustainability Self-Assessment Program, identifying strengths and opportunities for improvement. We are proud of current achievements to create an environmentally, economically and socially sound business, and will continue working towards more sustainable practices.
In early 2009, Clos LaChance’s 150-acre Estate vineyard was one of seventeen California vineyards to be Sustainably Certified via the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. The production facility was certified shortly thereafter and both have been certified sustainable every year since.
The Estate Meritage comes from the premier reserve blocks on the Clos LaChance Estate Vineyard. The grapes are handpicked and hand sorted and then cold soaked for 48 to 72 hours to maximize tannin and color extraction. The must is inoculated and pumped over for 4 times a day during peak fermentation. The pump overs help to extract the tannins and color out of the skins and seeds to maximize complexity and structure in the wine. The different varietals in the blend are kept separate for the first year of aging on oak, then blended and aged together for the remaining months to create a symbiotic relationship between all flavor and aromatic compounds. The wine is aged in 100% French Oak of which 35% is New oak. The final blend is fine-tuned prior to bottling where different varietals can come together to create the final wine which embodies a perfect balance of characteristics
Blend: 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Petite Verdot, 19% Merlot, 14% Malbec, 7% Cabernet Franc
Color: Dark Red and slightly to not opaque
Aroma: Cola, Blackberry, Dried Herbs and Cocoa
Structure: Medium Tannins, Medium to High Acid, Medium to Heavy Bodied
Flavors: Cola, Dried Cherries, Tea Leaf and Chocolate
Pairing: Mushroom Risotto, Seared Ahi with Garlic Mashed Potatoes
The Cabernet Sauvignon off of the Clos LaChance Estate sits higher in elevation than any other varietal and is high on the hill side. The soils in this area of the vineyard are shallow and rocky allowing for great drainage but harsh conditions for the root structure. This yields lower quantities of grapes but much higher quality and a more complex tannin structure in the skins. The grapes are handpicked, and hand sorted prior to a 72-hour cold soak at 40 degrees F. During fermentation, the wine is pumped over 4 times per day during peak fermentation to maximize extraction. Post fermentation the wine is held on skins for 48 hours to extend maceration and provide even more color and tannin extraction. The wine is then aged in 30% New French Oak and the remainder is aged in a mix of neutral American and French oak.
Blend: 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot
Color: Dark Garnet with a slightly opaque hue
Aroma: Wet Slate, Cedar, Dark Cherry and Molasses
Structure: medium tannins, mild acidity, chewy finish
Flavors: Blackberry, Tobacco, Dark Chocolate and Currant
Pairing: Cabernet Glazed Filet Mignon and Chocolate Molten Cake
The Clos LaChance Estate Merlot is handpicked and hand sorted prior to being de-stemmed, without crushing, then cold soaked for a full 72 hours. The Merlot is then inoculated where it enjoys a lengthy 2 week fermentation allowing for the utmost extraction of the tannins and color pigments which are held so tightly in the thick and dark grape skins. Post fermentation the wines are pressed gently in an air bladder press and transferred to oak for its lengthy aging process. The wine is aged for 16 months in 20% New French Oak and 10% New American oak, with the remainder being made up of primarily French Neutral oak. The marriage of American and French Oak works best on the Merlot variety as it brings out the bright red fruits and vanilla from the French Oak and promoting the earthy and spicy elements of the American Oak.
Blend: 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc
Color: Soft purple and slightly opaque
Aromas: Raspberry, Blueberry, Vanilla and Tobacco Leaf
Structure: Medium Tannin, Medium Bodied, Dry Finish
Flavors: Dried Cherries, Cranberries, Vanilla and Wet Stone
Pairings: Pear Braised Rack of Lamb, Truffle Cheese and Chicken Parmesan
The Clos LaChance Pinot Noir is sourced from premier vineyards scattered throughout Santa Barbara County including the famed Santa Maria Valley. The grapes are handpicked and hand sorted prior to a 72 hour cold soak at 40 degrees F. The grapes are de-stemmed to open top tanks using gravity to allow for the gentle processing of the delicate grapes and avoids excessive maceration which comes from using a pump. During fermentation the wine is punched down over 4 times per day during peak fermentation to allow for subtle yet efficient extraction. Post fermentation the wine is drained straight to barrel using gravity to avoid oxidizing and excessive ware on the wine. The wine is then aged in 25% New French Oak, 75% neutral French oak.
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir
Color: Opaque garnet
Aromas: Bing cherry, cola, mushroom and slate
Structure: Light body, medium tannin, light acid
Flavors: Fresh strawberries, cherry cola, olallieberry
Pairings: Seared scallops, roast turkey, hard cheeses
The grapes are de-stemmed and cold-soaked on skins for 48 hours to allow for limited extraction of phenolics and tannins out of the skins. Post cold soak the wine is pressed off of the skins and cold settled for another 48 hours allowing the clean juice to be racked off of the thicker lees for a clean fermentation environment. This added technique gives this Sauvignon Blanc a rounder mouthfeel and larger body, separating it and its quality from the typical Central Coast or “new world” style of Sauvignon Blanc. Post fermentation, the wine is stored in stainless steel tanks where it is fined and filtered prior to bottling.
Color: Pale Straw
Aroma: Lemon, Lime Zest, Lemon Grass, Granite
Structure: Light Body, Medium Plus Acid, Medium Long Finish
Flavors: lemon-lime, green apple, pear
Pairing: Chinese Chicken Salad with Honey Miso Dressing, Sriracha Glazed Salmon
Aging and Blending
Aged in stainless steel; no oak
Blend: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
The Monterey County Chardonnay is made in a traditional California style method. The grapes are whole cluster pressed to stainless steel tanks where there are cold settled at 45 degrees for 48 hours. The juice is then racked in oak where it is aged and fermented on 30% New French oak and 70% Neutral French oak for 16 months. The wine is aged “sur-lie”, meaning that the wine is stirred periodically to reincorporate the lees to increase mouthfeel and body of the wine.
Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Color: Golden Straw
Aroma: Toasted Coconut, Butterscotch, Lemon Zest, Granite
Structure: Medium Acid, Medium Body, Medium Long Finish
Flavors: Pear, Sweet oak, Honey Suckle
Pairing: Chicken Caesar Salad, Braised Pork Loin with Apple Compote
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