Rainfall returned to normal in the Santa Lucia Highlands in 2016 after a four year stretch of below normal precipitation. It was unusual to have temperatures in the 80s in February and this got the season off to an early start. Heat units racked up at record pace through the end of June before we entered into a cooler summer period in July and August, with very favorable temperatures for color development during veraison. September temperatures swung wildly from the 70s to near 100 degrees, offering ripe flavors with windows of cool weather for picking. Our top block for the season was Dijon clone 777 blended with a small percentage of the Joseph Swan Clone for the 2016 Highlands Bench Pinot Noir.
Our 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 and Chardonnay 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, CA
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, barbecued oysters or grilled lamb.