2015 Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands
Winemaking & Vineyard Details
Nose: black cherry, raspberry, honeysuckle, cigar smoke
Mouth: cherry, herbs, black pepper, jasmine tea, balanced acidity, velvety texture
The Santa Lucia Highlands were planted with grapes by Franciscan missionaries in the 1790s, but not approved as an AVA until 1991. Most vineyards are located on a narrow strip of east-facing geological benches overlooking the Salinas River Valley. The deep sandy-loam soils (mostly Chualar Series) contain concentrations of calcium that limit vine growth and berry size to enhance wine depth. The prevailing Mediterranean climate (Region I) is marked by warm, clear days that receive daily whippings of cold air and frequent fog.
Chilled air above the deep frigid waters of Monterey Bay moves inland each afternoon through the mouth of the river to begin an overnight cooling that persists until morning. Vines as well as grape growers relish the long, mild growing seasons and cool overnight temperatures. The entrance to Escolle Vineyard lies at 200 feet of elevation, but the property climbs another 300 feet into the highlands. Overlooking the town of Gonzales, it was planted in 2008 using 11 pinot clones on five different rootstocks.
Fruit was picked from the gently sloping upper bench where the union of climate, soils and Pommard clone produces small crops that translate to complex wines.