Chloe Creek Vineyards
Russian River Valley AVA
Capturing the essence of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Located in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley, Chloe Creek Vineyards is one of the region’s newest and tiniest producers with a portfolio exclusively dedicated to vineyard-designate Pinot Noirs. The charming owners behind the label, Bill and Kimberley Comiskey, never dreamed they’d one day be in the wine business, but a fortuitous trip to Sonoma County wine country in 2008 changed everything.
“My wife Kimberley and I are self-confessed foodies,” Bill Comiskey recently admitted. “We even spent a week taking cooking classes at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. At home, we enjoy cooking great meals together with an emphasis on a health-conscious diet and pairing the dishes with interesting wines. More often than not, I find myself choosing Pinot Noir from our wine cellar due to its versatility.”
The Comiskeys’ wine cellar is an impressive underground space that holds upwards of 1,000 wine bottles. In 2008, Bill and Kim decided to plan a trip to California and restock their private collection with the best Pinot Noirs Sonoma County had to offer.
Meanwhile, each held successful careers in New York’s spa industry – Bill as a Naturopathic Doctor and owner of Keyano Aromatics (a manufacturer of premium, all-natural spa products) and Kim as the owner of a hugely successful day spa. Bill is actually noted for his research and development of spa treatments using the byproducts from the winemaking process. Through their travels participating in trade shows all over the country, Kim and Bill have been fortunate to experience some of the finest restaurants and enjoy some of the most spectacular dinners and wine pairings. Although wine was certainly a passion of theirs, Kim and Bill never dreamed of turning it into a career.
That was all about to change once Bill and Kim shared their first bottle of Pinot Noir on their 2008 trip to Sonoma wine country. They were eating dinner at Willie’s Wine Bar and selected a 2004 John Tyler Pinot Noir to accompany their meal. The couple was so impressed with the wine that they set up a tasting at the winery later that week.
By the way, John Tyler Winery is owned by the Bacigalupi family who is known for providing Chardonnay fruit to Château Montelena to win the coveted Paris, France tasting of 1976. They are also known for their world-class Pinot Noir.
Upon their visit, Bill and Kim were greeted by the Bacigalupi family, who treated the couple to tastings of their Pinots and a tour of their estate vineyards.
“I don’t know if it was the wine talking, but thinking back, somewhere along the way, I must have half-seriously mentioned that some day Kim and I would love to purchase Pinot Noir grapes and make our own wine,” Bill explained.
Once back home in Latham, New York, Bill received a phone call from Katie Bacigalupi in California, offering the couple two tons of Pinot Noir grapes. Bill was at first caught off guard, but called Kim and contemplated the offer. “Well, I thought, when life hands you some grapes…”
Bill immediately called the wine tour driver Kim and he had used in Sonoma. While driving them through the back roads to Sonoma’s smallest boutique wineries, the driver had mentioned he was also working on a small Pinot Noir project – and Bill hoped he’d partake in this offer from the Bacigalupis. It was an easy deal, and before they knew it, Bill and Kim were in the winemaking business.
The driver introduced Bill and Kim to winemaker Dan Fitzgerald, who has been an instrumental piece in building the Chloe Creek Vineyards brand. That first vintage yielded 215 cases of Pinot Noir, a number that has slowly grown to the current annual production of between 350 and 500 cases. The Comiskeys now source fruit from Sonoma’s Leras Family Vineyard and Sangiacomo Vineyard, each highly regarded in their own right.
And where did the ‘Chloe Creek’ name come from?
“Chloe is our seven year-old cocker spaniel, and one of our most prized treasures,” Bill explained. “I attempted to make wine in our basement a few years before the winery got its start, and used a photo of Chloe perched by a creek in our front yard for the label art. It was the only way I could get Kim to agree to try it!”
Things have sure come a long way, and Chloe Creek is now the name of Bill and Kim’s small label of premium vineyard-designate Pinot Noirs in Sonoma County. The couple still resides in New York and maintains their spa industry careers, but frequently travels to California to help in the development of their new brand. With a number of awards and medals already to their name, Chloe Creek is well on its way to becoming a major player within the boutique estates of Sonoma County.
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
Kim and I are very excited to present our 2012 Chloe Creek Leras Family Vineyard Pinot Noir to the Gold Medal Wine Club’s Platinum Wine Club. We have been producing Pinot Noir since our first vintage in 2008.
Pinot Noir grapes are sensitive to growing and fermenting and vulnerable to disease; therefore, making great Pinot is a delicate and often difficult process. Our philosophy is to produce Pinot Noir that is not only delicious, but interesting as well. We employ a minimalist winemaking process to ensure that each vintage showcases the particular growing season as well as the complexities of the vineyard. Chloe Creek Vineyards began securing outstanding fruit in 2009 from the Leras Family Vineyard in the Russian River Valley of California. Leras Family Vineyard is owned and sustainably farmed by Nick Leras whose family members are pioneer grape growers in the Russian River Valley, having farmed wine grapes in this area since 1918.
We are also proud to have Dan Fitzgerald on board as our California winemaker. Dan has exceptional talent and passion; your nose and palate will awaken when pouring a glass of our Pinot Noir. With the best fruit and master winemaker secured, Chloe Creek Vineyards is committed to producing wines of distinction.
Our winemaker Dan Fitzgerald introduced us to Nick Leras to start our vineyard-designate Pinot Noir program. With impeccable standards, Nick personally tends to his grapes and performs all aspects of grape growing. Both Nick Lersas and Dan Fitzgerald bring knowledge, passion and talent to grape growing and winemaking, capturing the magical essence of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
Both Kim and I are avid cooks and authors of Chloe Creek Pinot Pairings Cookbook. The 2012 Chloe Creek Pinot Noir will pair well with most dishes. Enjoy this wine by itself, or with your favorite meal.
William and Kim Comiskey
Dan Fitzgerald - Winemaker
Dan Fitzgerald joined the Chloe Creek Vineyards team in January of 2009 and has proven to be a solid addition to the family winery. A northern California native, Dan lived in Europe for 13 years and has developed a keen interest in blending Old and New World winemaking techniques.
Dan’s winemaking career began in 2002, working the harvest in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley. Rather than waiting until the next year’s harvest, Dan decided to work both hemispheres for the following 3 years. He worked back-to-back harvests at Coldstream Hills in the Yarra Valley of Australia, Robert Sinskey Vineyards in the Napa Valley, and then again in Australia as the leader of the Coldstream Hills vintage team. He then returned to California where he earned his Enology degree from CSU Fresno in 2007. Upon graduating, Dan was asked to join the Williams-Selyem team and spent time at Pellegrini, Enos, and Brack Mountain as well.
At Chloe Creek Vineyards, Dan works with growers who are committed to producing the highest quality Pinot Noir with sustainable farming practices. He uses a ‘hands-off’ winemaking approach which allows the Chloe Creek wines to truly represent the place they are from.
Dan is an incredible asset to the Chloe Creek team and his passion and energy for winemaking is easy to see.