2010 J. Lohr Highlands Bench Pinot Noir

2010 proved to be the coolest vintage in a decade throughout California’s wine regions. The young vines that produced our first vintage of Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir were shoot-thinned and crop levels lightened to focus on root and vine development. The cool summer period was truncated by a warm trend at the end of August that pushed the fruit through a swift veraison in this cool spot. A second heat trend in late September elevated sugar levels, and we were pleased that the final picking decision made on the 15th of October without concern for weather pressure.

Our 2010 Highlands Bench Pinot Noir comes from the Escolle Road Vineyard, just west of the town of Gonzales in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA 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 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 northsouth orientation. The close proximity to Monterey Bay, the eastern slope and aspect, and the elevation above the Salinas Valley floor provide a cool, sunny, ideal environment for growing intensely flavored Burgundian varietals. 


Appellation: Santa Lucia Highlands,
Monterey County
Composition 100% Pinot Noir
Harvest Dates: October 15, 16 and 21, 2010
Process: Hand-picked into half-ton
bins. Destemmed and berry sorted on Mistral System
Harvest Chemistries: 24.5° Brix, pH 3.5,
0.69g/100ml total acidity
Vinification: Yeast: RC212
Fermentation:   Cold-soaked, then fermented in 10-ton open-top tanks with punch downs twice daily
Malolactic: 100% malolactic with Vinifloral Oenos in barrel
Stirring: Stirred every 2 weeks through malolactic
Post-Stirring: Topping of barrels with free sulfur dioxide and oxygen monitoring
Maturation: Aged in barrel sur lie for 9 months
Barrel Type: 228-liter Burgundy barrels, 55% new
Forest: Bertrange
Coopers: Francoise Frères, Dargaud & Jaegle, Marcel Cadet
Post-Maturation: 1 year bottle age prior to
Bottling Chemistries: pH: 3.84
Total Acidity: 0.61 g/100ml
Alcohol: 14.42 % by vol
Residual Sugar: Dry
Cases Produced: 1,636 (3,272 six-packs)
Cellaring: Delicious now, with the structure to age 8-10 years or beyond

This intensely colored, fuschia-red Pinot Noir presents the jammy, wild strawberry dimensions of SLH terroir in its aroma. The bouquet is a fine layer of espresso coffee and sandalwood. Richly textured and supple, this inaugural vintage of Highlands Bench Pinot Noir leaves ripe fruit and a touch of sage on the finish.
-Steve Peck, Red Winemaker

Butternut squash and sage ravioli, beef carpaccio with pecorino, French onion soup.

With strawberry jam, espresso coffee and sandalwood, this richly textured and supple Pinot Noir leaves ripe fruit and a touch of sage on the finish.

Price: $37.00 750ml

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