2020 Lucia Vineyards by Pisoni, Chardonnay, Soberanes Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands.
Considering the complete devastation the fires in 2020 caused and the complete wipe of the red wine grapes, the latest Lucia Soberanes Chardonnay seems like divine mercy for the Santa Lucia Highlands region, it is a beautiful and graceful wine with a unique delicacy and lightness not often found here, it is one of the few joys of this difficult vintage with a full range of flavors on display. Jeff Pisoni was given an extremely hard task of finding a needle in the haystack with the level of smoke that hovered above the SLH, but he was up to the challenge and crafted a gem here with this lovely Soberanes Chardonnay, lucky he had his brother Mark and his talented farming team finding the very best clusters to give him the best possible chance at success, this 2020 is better than expected and has incredible clarity and detail with a pale golden/greenish hue, subtle aromatics and fresh lemony nuance before smooth layers of apple, pear and white peach fruit come alive on the medium bodied palate along with clove spice, wet stones, faint leesy brioche, vanilla and a lingering zesty orange citrus note. This bright a mineral driven Chardonnay is pure class in the glass, with a notably less fleshy character than is more normal, making for a very appealing lighter style that will go great with Summer meals and especially sea foods that make the local Monterey cuisine so delicious. The have a state-of-the-art winemaking facility that uses gravity flow as part of a custom designed cellar, which was conceived to merge the estate vineyards and winery as they says, lets Jeff made sublime hand crafted small lot wines.

The Pisoni and Franscioni families again joined forces to farm this stellar Soberanes Vineyard in a higher site within the Santa Lucia Highlands, it is proving to be one of the best crus in the region, producing fantastic grapes for some of California’s top wines with a focus on Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay, as found in this wine. The Pisoni family notes that, the Soberanes Vineyard bears the family name of José María Soberanes, who marched from Mexico to Monterey Bay with the famed Portolá expedition, and his son Feliciano, who acquired the 8,900-acre land grant as repayment for his loan of forty horses, fifty head of cattle, four oxen and some sheep. This site, which joins a family of elite vineyards, Garys’, Pisoni Estate, Rosella’s and Sierra Mar, a prestigious collection no question, with this Soberanes Vineyard, the youngest, already showing awesome its potential. The Soberanes gets the classic marine cooling influence that channels down from the Monterey Bay and is, as the Pisoni’s explain, located next to the famous Garys’ Vineyard, with the classic sandy loam soils, which also boast significant sub-soil boulders that layer into a alluvial fan, making it an almost perfect place for these vines to thrive. The Soberanes features tightly spaced vines and is planted to 33 acres of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah with a diverse selection of clonal material, with the Chardonnay having some rare Burgundy clones as well as California heritage and modern Dijon versions too. About 200 cases of Soberanes Chard are produced in most years and it sees around 40% new oak, with Pisoni allowing a lees aging that lasts about 15 months usually here, making for a balanced and luxurious wine, as this one shows exceptionally well.
($65 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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