LUTUM wines from the immensely talented Gavin Chanin


Over the last few decades, California’s great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay sites have started to hit the headlines. The very best are delicate, nuanced and extraordinarily beautiful and many show the grace, aromatics and complexity of their European counterparts.


Last week we had the pleasure of tasting some outstanding wines from LUTUM. The winemaker here Gavin Chanin, is young, passionate and extremely talented. Gavin cut his teeth as assistant winemaker at the iconic Qupé and Au Bon Climat vineyards before setting out on his own.

“Gavin Chanin produced one of the most impressive collections of wines I tasted during my tour of the central coast.” Antonio Galloni.


LUTUM is a label born from a shared vision between Bill Price, owner of Classic Wines and Price Family Vineyards, and now 30 year-old winemaker Gavin. The new winery and partnership, which came to fruition in 2012, focuses on small-production, single-vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from prime vineyard sites in California.

The name LUTUM is Latin for dirt or soil, referencing the mission to make wines that express the great vineyard sites, with little to mask the vineyards’ natural character. The moto is, ‘Each vineyard has its own story. Our job is to let the wine tell it.’

The LUTUM range has been excitedly welcomed by the top critics scoring some exceptional write ups and a big following. While we found the whole range captivating we have chosen two of our standout favourites from the 2014 vintage.


2014 Lutum Chardonnay Gap’s Crown Vineyard
£410 per 12 In Bond / £522 Duty Paid inc VAT (£43.50 per bott)

Gaps Crown Chardonnay which is nestled in the Petaluma Gap region in the southern part of the Sonoma Coast AVA. A high and cool climatic zone on Goulding clay loam. Reminiscent of a great Puligny, with zesty mineral definition floral aromatics and beautiful white peach fruit; it is out of this world!

The 2014 Chardonnay Gap’s Crown Vineyard is all class. Silky, layered and wonderfully nuanced, the Gap’s Crown oozes personality. Candied lemon peel, jasmine, sage and white pepper are some of the many signatures that develop in the glass. The 2014 is understand and soft-spoken, but there is no shortage of nuance. This is a stunning Chardonnay from Gavin Chanin. 96 points. Antonio Galloni

Another rocking wine is the 2014 Chardonnay Gap’s Crown Vineyard, which spent 12 months in 40% new oak. Rich, medium to full-bodied, textured and layered, it has terrific notes of crushed rock, white peach, white flowers and a kiss of that cream corn characteristics that I almost only find in wines from the north coast. It too will shine for decade. Drink: 2016 -2026. 94 points. Jeb Dunnuck,

2014 Lutum Pinot Noir La Rinconada Vineyard
£410 per 12 In Bond / £522 Duty Paid inc VAT (£43.50 per bott)

Pinot Noir La Rinconada, located in Lompoc, California’s Sta. Rita Hills AVA, which pools the heavy Pacific fog in this cool-climate valley vineyard. Very Chambolle in character; aromatics in abundance. Crushed rose petals, sweet red berries griotte cherries and great underlying complexity of fruit. You will find it hard to stop at one glass.

The 2014 Pinot Noir La Rinconada Vineyard is one of the more lifted, aromatic wines in the Lutum range. Crushed rose petals, sweet red berries, mint, orange peel and sweet herbs grace the palate in an exquisite, gracious Pinot endowed with real class. This is an especially understated vintage for the Rinconada, but it all works, and very nicel. 93 points. Antonio Galloni

Moving to the Stanta Rita Hills releases and the lightest colored in the lineup (don’t let that sway your opinion) the 2014 Pinot Noir la Rinconada Vineyard has terrific intensity and length. Spice, dried flowers, underbrush, ripe cherries and red currants all show in this medium-bodied, ethereally textured, balanced and silky beauty. Drink it anytime over the coming decade. Drink: 2016 -2026. 92 points. Jeb Dunnuck,