Review: 2018 Chev Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Review: 2018 Chev Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Chev is a new project from Kosta Browne co-founder Michael Browne, one of pinot noir’s most notable names. This winery is located in the Russian River Valley. Some backstory:

Michael, the consummate craftsman, has realized a dream of creating a regional wine brand, that draws inspiration from an industrial age when artisans spent countless hours of grit and hard work to craft their wares with expert precision.

“I can’t stay idle,” says Browne. “Since moving to Sonoma County in the early nineties, I’ve always dreamt of having my own family winery. A place where I can be hands-on in every fine detail and have the freedom to continue to innovate and pursue my craft. Building Kosta Browne with Dan Kosta and Chris Costello was very rewarding. Creating CIRQ in the fall of 2009 gave me an incredible opportunity to pay respect to both my family’s colorful history and my own experience in the performing arts.”

“Launching CHEV has deep meaning to me as well. Born from watching my father work in his shop crafting the most detailed pieces, to my own raw inspiration to create something that has the same timeless feel. My quest is simple; craft the most delicious wine possible from my Russian River Valley backyard and expand our footprint to new regions that I have personally been connected to and intrigued by,” says Browne.

Both CHEV and CIRQ are a part of a stable of wines under Browne Family Wines. “We have a solid team, and their passion and dedication to our family and wines, makes this incredibly special. Our newly renovated estate property will be open to host members by appointment in spring 2021. These two brands are now my sole focus, and with a winery of my own, I can create the finest wines and experiences that connect with people in a very meaningful and personal way,” says Browne.

The estate property, located in the heart of the Russian River Valley, is a hilltop gem, surrounded by spectacular 360-degree views. This place fits CHEV and CIRQ perfectly and will be their permanent home for many years to come.

Let’s try these two bottlings from the 2018 vintage.

2018 Chev Chardonnay Russian River Valley – Whoa, someone went and hit this wine with an oak stick. Wood is the dominant character in the wine, followed by more wood. You get the picture. I kept waiting for a break — some lemon peel, some spice — but all I really got was a hint of dried apple and a light note of fig. All buried under oak chips. There’s an audience for this wine, to be sure, but for me it’s just far too overwhelming, especially at this price. B / $80

2018 Chev Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – Dense but somehow still full of fruit, this is an exercise in how to develop the intensity and body of a still-youthful wine. Almost unctuous with its silky, nougat-like body but well-integrated tannins, the wine pours on notes of blackberry, blueberry, and baking spice — though the finish is dry as hell. A certain astringent, green character on said conclusion ultimately makes this wine drink on the young side — decant if you’re drinking it soon — but I think it has a few years of bottle aging ahead of it to really hit its peak. A- / $80

2018 Chev Pinot Noir Russian River Valley




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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