I met Sean Capiaux at one point quite a while back, when he was living on the East Coast and making wines for Jamesport Vineyards out on Long Island; we ended up at a table together at dinner following the annual Michael Skurnik portfolio tasting, and he struck me as a smart, low-key, appealing person—just the sort of human being you'd like to hand a few tons of Pinot Noir to, if you happened to have a few tons of Pinot Noir sitting around.
In any case, he's since moved to the West Coast, which allows him a lot more time to focus on his own wines, sold under the Capiaux Cellars name (and produced in fairly limited quantities—my suggestion is to go directly to the winery website if you're interested). I recommended one of them in this month's column, the 2005 Chimera, a blend of fruit from a variety of vineyards, but I was equally impressed by the other two wines I tasted. Chimera got the nod for the column because it was more affordable and produced in slightly larger quantities, but any of the three are impressive enough to brighten the day of even the most jaded Pinot-freak. So:
2005 Capiaux Gary's Vineyard Pinot Noir ($42) A measure of fairly subtle wood is hanging above the flavor of this wine right now, but I'd bet good money that in six months it's going to be fully integrated with all the sweet-succulent fruit that's here (a ripe black cherry-berry note that I always find in Gary's Vineyard Pinots).
2005 Capiaux Widdoes Vineyard Pinot Noir ($40) The aroma here sort of suggests what it might be like to pick wild raspberries from a bush in the middle of a forest, early in the morning—which is definitely walking the road towards over-romanticized crapola, but what the hell. This is terrific Pinot, and terrific Pinot tends to do a number on your editorial judgment, not to mention your senses. Dark raspberry flavors, a touch of black pepper and clove, firm tannins, and a long juicy wild berry finish that lasts.