A decade ago, China-based entrepreneur Allan Warburg was offered an opportunity to acquire a Californian winery in financial difficulties. By 2011, he and his wife, Mei, were the owners of Donum wine estate. Initially, Warburg thought it would be a short-term investment but he changed his mind once he saw the property. “Often, the good things in life come by coincidence,” Warburg says. “We had enjoyed the wines from Donum for many years before purchasing the estate. We have also been collecting art since the early 2000s. In 2014, we combined these loves and started placing large-scale works throughout Donum.” The winery’s labels combine the owners’ love for art and their connection to Asia, with each vintage marked with that year’s Chinese zodiac animal, based on Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals (2011). Donum, meaning “gift” in Latin, was conceived in 2001 and strives to produce top quality pinot noir and chardonnay from its Sonoma County vineyards. Pinot noir thrives in the Russian River Valley, where fog rolling in from the Pacific moderates temperatures and helps preserve acidity and delicate aromatics. Carneros is a historic wine region with vines planted as far back as the 1830s. Bracing winds from San Pablo Bay keep temperatures down, but yields are reduced due to lower grape moisture retention. Carneros pinot noir is fresh, elegant and ripe with pure varietal expression. Donum chardonnay 2016, Russian River Valley, US$75 The Year of the Monkey, 2016, was the first harvest of Donum chardonnay. Three heatwaves during September made picking decisions tricky. For optimum ripeness, before the grapes became jammy and raisined, they were harvested before each heatwave. Fermentation in French oak. Secondary fermentation blocked to preserve acidity. Aged for a year in a blend of new and used French barriques. Creamy, buttery, honeydew melon and citrus aromatics. Round and elegant on the palate, with ripe fruit intensity, balanced acidity and a creamy long finish. Donum pinot noir 2016, Russian River Valley, US$85 Fruit sourced from 17-year-old vines. Fermentation in stainless steel. Aged for a year in a mix of new and used French oak. Vibrant, crunchy red fruit replete with strawberries and red currants. Ripe and refreshing with silky discreet tannins coupled with fresh acidity. Well balanced and delicious to drink. Donum West Slope pinot noir 2017, Carneros, US$125 The Year of the Rooster, 2017, will be remembered for the devastating October wildfires in Napa and Sonoma counties. Most grapes had been harvested, and Donum Estate was lucky to escape unscathed. West Slope is a 2.2-hectare vineyard. The wine is comparable to a Burgundy grand cru with fruit from 13-year-old vines. Opulent, rich black cherries, some spiciness and licorice. Quite full bodied with concentrated fruit, velvety and seamless ripe tannins and a long, lingering finish. Shipping is US$160per case or US$13 per bottle. To order, email Trinity Scott .