|Owner(s)||Cathy Pepe, Stephen Pepe|
|Link to this site|
This 28-acre vineyard lies in the heart of the appellation on Hwy 246. Small quantities of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are produced and grapes are sold to several producers. The owners are "vigneron" Stephen Pepe and his spouse Catherine.
Vineyard manager and winemaker Wes Hagen is a believer in Chablis-styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir picked on the earlier side to fully display the vineyard's unique terroir. Noted winemaker Ken Brown has called grapes from his vineyard, “grapes on steroids,” but some wines, notably from Roessler and A.P. Vin, seem to temper the muscular fruit.
Clos Pepe grapes are in high demand and fruit is allocated to several prominent California producers. Stephen keeps back enough fruit to make about 700 cases of Pinot Noir. Two bottlings are released: an Estate and a Vigneron's Select.
Visit the very informative website. The wines are sold primarily through a mailing list. I would encourage taking a tour and taste (by appointment). The estate also produces an award-winning olive oil.
The Pepes retired after the 2014 harvest and are leasing the estate vineyard to Walt Wines in St. Helena, CA. They will farm the vineyard for 15 years and produce Clos Pepe wines under the Walt banner. Grapes will still be sold to producers who have sourced Clos Pepe grapes for years. No new Clos Pepe Estate wine has been made since 2014 and the label has been retired. Winemaker Wes Hagen is now the winemaker for J. Wilkes Wines in the Santa Maria Valley.
2010 Clos Pepe Estate Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.71, 915 cases, $54. The Clos Pepe Pinot Noirs in 2010 are bigger and riper than the traditional Clos Pepe restrained style. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Evocative aromas of black cherries, ripe berry jam, spice and subtle oak. Mouth full of generous strawberry, raspberry and red licorice flavors with a satiny smooth mouth feel, and a very long finish displaying a good spark of acidity that keeps the fruit in check and leaves a refreshing memory. This wine is built for enjoyment with food. Very good. Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »
2010 Clos Pepe Estate Vigneron Select Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.68, 72 cases, $59 · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. More subdued on the nose and offering a riper fruit profile. Darker fruits are featured with compliments of savory herbs, leaf and earth. Compared to the Estate bottling, more intensity of dark berry flavor, more fruit presence on the finish, more ripeness, and a hint of alcohol in the background. Very silky with modest tannins, and acidity that is well integrated. A true select bottling but not one defined by more oak as with many reserve wines. Definitely needs more time, say 2 to 3 years for optimum enjoyment. That said, it is hard to keep your hands off it now. Very good (+). Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »
2009 Clos Pepe Vigneron Select Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., $64 (sold out). · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely aromas of fresh black cherries with cardamom spice and a hint of toasty oak. Modestly intense flavors of cherries, cranberries and dark red raspberries with a savory note of mushrooms, herbs and a hint of oak. This wine has understated charm with a soft texture, mild tannins and a good cut of acidity on the slightly tart finish. Has the balance to continue to improve in the cellar. Still fine the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Very good. Source: www.clospepe.com. The 2010 vintage is available now. Reviewed February 22, 2012 ARTICLE »
2008 Clos Pepe Estate Clos Pepe Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 235 cases, $54. Multiple frost events led to a tiny crop of less than a half ton per acre in some places. · Subdued aromas of dark berries with a hint of smoke. Bright and juicy mineral-laden flavors of red and blue berries. Vibrant and refreshing with a smooth mouth feel and some persistence. A promising wine that is still undeveloped and will require time for full oak integration. More delicate than the 2007 version, but will certainly rival it with more time in the bottle. Very good. Reviewed March 11, 2010 ARTICLE »
2008 Clos Pepe Estate Clos Pepe Vineyard Vigneron Selection Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., $59. Three favorite barrels aged in 66% new French oak. · Noticeably lighter in color than the 2007 version of this wine. Don’t be put off by the color, however, as the wine is well-structured and full-flavored. Oak char is dominating the nose at this stage and underlies the flavor profile as well. Delicious strawberry and cherry flavors peek out which are vivid and satisfying. The tannins are restrained leading to a pleasingly soft mouth feel. Immature and closed, this wine will need at least two years in the cellar. Slightly better the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Very good. Reviewed March 11, 2010 ARTICLE »
2007 Clos Pepe Estate Clos Pepe Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 550 cases, $54. 50% 115, 25% 667, 25% 777. Beginning in 2008, Pommard clone will be added to the Clos Pepe Estate Pinot Noir bottling. · Lovely aromas of fresh-picked berries, plums, grape must, and a hint of mint and floral bouquet. Discreetly concentrated core of mildly sweet red and black fruits, with flavors of sassafras, tea, soy and oak adding interest. A vein of minerality adds to the pleasure. Smoothly textured with some persistence on the finish. Reviewed March 11, 2010 ARTICLE »
2007 Clos Pepe Estate Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 650 cases, $54. · A marvelous drinking experience beginning with the clean and fruity nose hinting of spice and minerals followed by a delicious, sappy black raspberry and blackberry core that explodes in the mouth and saturates every taste bud. Ridiculous! Modest tannins, deft use of oak and perfectly harmonious. Reviewed May 7, 2009 ARTICLE »
2007 Clos Pepe Estate “Vigneron’s Select” Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 72 cases, $59. A blend of the favorite barrels in the cellar. · As good as the regular 2007 bottling is, this one raises the ante a notch. Really heady aromas of black cherries and raspberries with herbs adding interest in the background. Smooth and seamless pie-filling fruits on the palate, showing a perfect marriage of finesse and power. Plenty of fruit to thrill, beautifully framed by supple tannins and a lively vein of minerality and acidity, culminating in a long and scented finish. Reviewed May 7, 2009 ARTICLE »
2007 Clos Pepe Estate Clos Pepe Vineyard Vigneron Selection Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 72 cases, $59. A tank bottle (from bottom of tank). Favorite barrels in the cellar. · Off scent and flavor which largely resolves over time revealing shy aromas of black cherries, raspberries and blackberries which carry over in the flavor profile. Soft and smooth in the mouth, with the fruit well caressed by balancing tannins and acidity. Not up to the bottle I sampled in May 2009 which was exceptional. Good. Reviewed March 11, 2010 ARTICLE »
2006 Clos Pepe Estate Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 700 cases, $56. · The fruit here is on the ripe side, with the wine displaying aromas of black currents and marzipan and flavors of macerated dark berries with a riff of dark chocolate and raisin. Beautifully composed, juicy, vibrant and alive with dusty tannins and a spark of acidity. Reviewed May 7, 2009 ARTICLE »
2005 Clos Pepe Estate Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 650 cases, $56, sold out. · Dark reddish-purple color. Appealing mix of aromas of black cherries, herbs and a slip of oak. Loamy black cherry and blackberry coulis which is focused and polished. The tannins are suave, the texture is smooth and there is an edginess to the dry and lingering finish. Plenty of Pinot singing here. This wine reminded me of a 2005 Esmonin Hospices de Beaune Mazis Chambertin I drank the night before. The Clos Pepe was every bit as good. Reviewed May 7, 2009 ARTICLE »
2004 Clos Pepe Estate Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
A masculine and firm wine with concentrated fruit and notable oak and tannins. What some might call “power to thrill,” the wine is generous and fruity rather than complex. The lingering finish is tinged by some heat. Aging will mellow this wine. Reviewed July 23, 2007 ARTICLE »