2011 J. Lohr Highlands Bench Pinot Noir

2011 was second only to 2010 as the coolest vintage in a decade for the Santa Lucia Highlands. The young vines that produced our second vintage of Highlands Bench Pinot Noir were shoot-thinned and leafed early in the season, with crop levels of just 1 ton per acre. The cool summer period was complemented by a warm trend at the end of September, which caused elevated sugar levels. We were pleased that the final picking decision was made during a moderate period on the 17th and 18th of October, resulting in a deliciously ripe wine with the complex flavors appreciated by true pinotphiles like ourselves.

Our 2011 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 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.


Appellation: Santa Lucia Highlands,
Monterey County
Composition 100% Pinot Noir
Harvest Dates: October 17th and 18th, 2011
Process: Hand-picked into half-ton
bins. Destemmed and berry sorted on Mistral System
Harvest Chemistries: 25.2° Brix, pH 3.3,
0.89g/100ml total acidity
Vinification: Yeast: Maurivin Distinction and RC-212
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: Barrels stirred every 2 weeks through malolactic completion in February
Post-Stirring: Monthly barrel topping till
Maturation: Aged in barrel for 9 months
Barrel Type: 228-liter Burgundy barrels, 55% new
Forest: Bertrange
Coopers: Sirugue, Francois Frères, Dargaud & Jaegle, Marcel Cadet
Post-Maturation: 1 year bottle age prior to
Bottling Chemistries: pH: 3.77
Total Acidity: 0.61 g/100ml
Alcohol: 14.21 % by vol
Residual Sugar: 0.1 g/100 ml
Cases Produced: 2,012 cases (4,024 six-packs)
Cellaring: This wine has the structure to age 6 to 8 years or beyond

The 2011 Highlands Bench Pinot Noir is deep fuchsia-red in color, with complex layers of raspberry jam, prickly pear, beeswax and hazelnut aromas. This vintage shows finely-textured tannins with supple fruit on the palate.
-Steve Peck, Red Winemaker

Delicious with beef carpaccio with pecorino, Thresher shark on a bed of arugula and spring peas, or French onion soup.

Complex aromas of raspberry jam, prickly pear and beeswax with supple fruit on the palate.

Price: $35.00 750ml