The warmer 2013 vintage was a break from the three preceeding cold vintages in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Warm and dry weather through spring and summer brought full canopy growth and an early onset of stress to the vines prior to veraison where an atypical cooling trend set in. Veraison temperatures were in the low 70s, roughly at 10 degrees cooler than normal for the period. Light rain in September was followed by perfect ripening weather leading into harvest in early October. Our best SLH blocks were selected for this vintage of Highlands Bench Pinot Noir which is half clone 777 with the balance from equal amounts of 115 and classic Pommard 4.
Highlands Bench Pinot Noir comes from the Escolle Road Vineyard, just west of the town of Gonzales in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation of Monterey.
We were invited to partner with a group of friends – Gary Caraccioli, the Nunes and Hiyashi families – in 2006 to establish a Pinot Noir vineyard on the Rianda family property. We participated in soil evaluation, vineyard layout and clone and rootstock selection, ultimately choosing the highest elevations and most gravelly soils for Pinot Noir planting. The Pinot Noir clones selected were Dijon origin 777, 115 and 828, as well as Pommard 4 and Joseph Swan. The vines are spaced at four feet within the row and eight feet between rows in a north-south orientation. The close proximity to Monterey Bay, the eastern slope and aspect, and the elevation above the Salinas Valley floor provide a cool, sunny and ideal environment for growing intensely-flavored Burgundian varietals.
Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County
This wine has the structure to age 5 to 7 years, with the greatest fruit evolution in the early years.7 Years
Delicious with beef carpaccio and pecorino, oysters on the half shell or French onion soup.