2021 Russell Joyce Wines, Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands.
Part of a series of small batch offerings from Joyce Wine Co. this silky red fruited Russell Joyce Pinot Noir is one of the top non estate bottlings with rich fruit concentration that you’d expect from the Santa Lucia Highlands and lively fresh acidity giving a nice tension and balance, making for a stylish wine that is showing exceptionally well even in its youthful form and in particular this 2021 is great with food. Bright raspberry, black cherry and cranberry fruits lead the way on the medium bodied palate along with an array of spice, mineral tones, light florals, a hint of loamy earth and subtle wood notes, all forming a compelling and delicious pure Pinot. As it opens it gains depth and complexity with a delicate chanterelles, cola bean and briar note, putting just the right amount of savory with the classic SLH core of dark fruit, best to enjoy this one with grilled salmon and or squab, as well as light meat dishes.

Winemaker Russell Joyce, who’s Gamay is getting tons of love and attention, reminds us here that he’s very good with Pinot Noir with this signature version that is from a couple of hand selected barrels from, what Russell calls, two distinct vineyards, the Tondre Grapefield and the Escolle Vineyard. These sites play a bit of ying and yang here with Tondre providing the riper elements and the higher toned Escolle giving the aromatics and vibrancy. Joyce continues that this wine was fermented in small separate lots and then blended together after being barreled down to create an elevated wine, which this 2021 certainly is.This grapes were traditionally de-stemmed and fermented in bins and rested in mainly used French oak for just about a year. It was cool to experience this Pinot Noir with a few other Santa Lucia Highlands wines, where this one showed its quality and distinction, impressing me and some others in the room, it was a big hit. Joyce is moving from strength to strength since moving into the old Ventana winery in Arroyo Seco and the wines have taken a good step up with these 2021s.
($55 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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