Capiaux “Chimera” Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2015

capiaux chimera russian river valley pinot noir
California Sonoma County
Pinot Noir
Type: Red Table Wine
Vintage: 2015

Since Sean Capiaux (also of O’Shaughnessy) founded Capiaux Cellars in 1994, he has been dedicated to the nuance and expression of the “Holy Grail” grape: Pinot Noir. Capiaux Cellars is dedicated to producing single-vineyard bottlings of Pinot Noir. Chimera, named for the creature of Greek mythology, or to describe anything that brings together disparate parts with dazzling results, stands out. This is Sean’s opportunity to combine fruit from seven vineyards along the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, and Santa Lucia Highlands. The result is a beautiful, nuanced wine.


Sean’s style is a blend of classic and contemporary. He pairs cutting-edge fermentation equipment with traditional Burgundian technique that emphasizes natural, hands-on winemaking. Fruit is hand-sorted as soon as it arrives at the winery. Following a cool soak, all wines are fermented by indigenous yeast and see minimal new oak (rarely more than 33%). The wine ages in barrel for ten to 15 months before bottling, unfined and unfiltered to preserve aroma and flavour.


“Sean Capiaux, who founded his winery in Sonoma in 1994, also graces these pages as the brilliant winemaker for Betty O’Shaughnessy’s wines from Howell Mountain and Mt. Veeder. All of his Pinot Noirs are unfiltered, fermented with indigenous yeast with malo in barrel, aged sur lie, and rarely handled until they go into bottle. His regime of new oak varies according to the vineyard he’s working with, but it can be as low as 30% or as high as 65%. His 2015 Pinot Noir Chimera comes primarily from Russian River vineyards but a tiny percentage is from the Sonoma Coast and even a drop or two from the Santa Lucia Highlands. This wine has a deep ruby colour and a big, sweet kiss of raspberry, black cherry, incense and floral notes. It is medium-bodied, lush, long and again, sexy and heady. It is one of his biggest cuvées (925 cases). It should be drunk over the next 4-6 years.”

92 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Dec 2016


“The Capiaux 2015 Pinot Noir Chimera is plump, juicy and expressive, with all of the richness and lushness of the vintage. Bright red cherry and pomegranate flavours are propped up by bright veins of salinity and aromatic lift that give the wine its brilliance. The blend of sites, all from Russian River, works beautifully here. 2017-2023.”

92 points, Antonio Galloni,, March 2017