2017 Lucia Vineyards by Pisoni, Pinot Noir, Garys’ Vineyards, Santa Lucia Highlands.
This beautiful and textured Pinot Noir from Jeff Pisoni at his family’s Lucia Vineyards comes from the Garys’ Vineyard, one of the top sites in the Santa Lucia Highlands, named for grape-growing partners and close friends, Gary Pisoni and Gary Franscioni, who have planted and maintained some of Monterey’s greatest vineyards and lead the two iconic labels, Pisoni (Lucia Vineyards) and Roar. Located in the heart of the Santa Lucia Highlands on sandy loamy soils, the Garys’ is an elite Cru fifty-acre vineyard that is planted mostly to Pinot Noir with a mix of clones, including a selection of Dijon and the original Pisoni clone, making for a rich and complex wine, like this 2017, that Pisoni has crafted, as he notes, with carefully sorted, hand-picked and de-stemmed grapes. Then the Garys’ Pinot Noir was fermented with native yeast and aged in carefully selected French oak barrels with a good portion being new. Youthful and deep in color, the warm vintage Garys’ is much more nuanced and poised than one would expect and it has wonderful balance and silky flowing layers of classic black cherry, plum, a touch of blackberry and strawberry fruits as well as rose petals, baking spices, orange tea and smoky vanilla. The farming, by Jeff’s brother Mark Pisoni and team, really shows through in this difficult year and the underlying energy and juicy natural acidity is remarkable, considering those record heat days that hit the region in the late summer.
One of the Grand Cru wines of Monterey, the Lucia Garys’ Pinot Noir is always a force of nature and a thrill on the palate with this 2017 giving a remarkable performance with density/concentration and lingering beauty, it sits almost equal to the famous Pisoni Estate in the local legends status. Jeff Pisoni has become one of California’s top winemakers and his facility in the Santa Rosa area is state of the art and uses mostly gravity flows and his uses many techniques learned over the years and at places like Peter Michael, where he worked with talents like Vanessa Wong and Mark Aubert. These days he is pushed forward by his incredibly gifted wife, Bibiana Gonzalez-Rave who makes a gorgeous set of wines under her own Cattleya label as well as teaming up with her husband to make Shared Notes, one of the state’s most intriguing Sauvignon Blanc. Both Jeff and Bibiana are Pinot specialists, having hands in top wines from Fort Ross to the Wayfarer Vineyard by Pahlmeyer, but be sure not to miss out on their Syrah wines, especially where they go head to head with individual versions from the Pisoni’s Soberanes Vineyard crafted from Alban clone (Cote-Rotie) vines, both are outrageously good! This 2017 Lucia Vineyards Garys’ is, of course, limited and hard to find, but wow, it is worth the search, enjoy it over the next 5 to 10 years.
($60 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive