2018 Lucia by Pisoni, Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands.
Really coming into its own, the 2018 Santa Lucia Highlands cuvee Chardonnay is drinking absolutely gorgeous right now with a layering of golden apples, Bosc pear, white peach, lemon curd and golden fig fruits along with a bright core of acidity, mineral tones, leesy and toasty wood notes as well as spicy clove, wet stones and subtle orange blossom accents. Everything is held in place with a nice tension, but still seamless and with the perfect amount of creamy full bodied roundness that reminds me of the great versions of California Chardonnay, making with think of Aubert, Peter Michael, Ramay and Peay along with classics such as Mount End and Hanzell. This pale gold and textured Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay, which is now called the Lucia Estate Cuvée, was sourced from vines grown exclusively in the Pisoni and Soberanes vineyards in Monterey’s cool coastal region that is set on sandy loams of decomposed granite and veins of quartz and ancient sea beds.

Winemaker Jeff Pisoni, who has become one of California’s top guns, has crafted some of the state’s most coveted Pinots, which were made famous by his father Gary, who of course pioneered quality grape growing in the Santa Lucia Highlands and who is a legend locally in the region, as well as around the world. While collectors snap up all the Pinot Noir from Pisoni with lightning speed, savvy wine lovers don’t pass up these excellent Chardonnay offerings either, and this bottling has become a stunning value, with this 2018 being a stunning wine that rivals wines that are twice the price. The Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay is expertly put together from various small lots from Soberanes Vineyard, which has unique and varied selection of clones, and from the famous Pisoni Estate Vineyard with its old vines, which were first planted in the early 1980s. Pisoni used a native yeast barrel fermentation with 100% French oak and 35% new wood, it saw 11 months in barrel on the lees and with full malolactic conversation, which was just the right touch here to make for such an impressive effort. It won’t be easy to find the 2018s, but oh yeah, they are worth searching for!
($50 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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