2011 Roar, Pinot Noir, Sierra Mar Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands.
The Roar Sierra Mar Pinot at 12 years old is still a beauty with a divine silken almost weightless texture and a host of secondary fruit and dried flowers, it reminds me of an aged Chambolle-Musigny with the cool climate influence really giving this wine an elegant profile and making for a remarkable treat from the Franscioni family. Tasted at the Santa Lucia Highlands “Sun, Wind & Wine” festival from a 3 liter library bottle, this 2011 put on a fabulous show of how well these wines can age, deliver terroir, and complexity, even in a tough vintage. The palate feels gorgeous with medium body and unfolds with black cherry, brambly red raspberry and balsamic dipped strawberry fruits along with mature tertiary elements, well integrated French oak, wilted rose petals, earthy truffle and orange peel. Usually a wine of this subtly and nuance would get lost in a room with big fruited young wines, but this one shined and was totally seductive.

Gary Franscioni started Roar around 2000 and helped raise the game for Santa Lucia Highlands, along with his partner and legend Gary Pisoni, after planting the Garys’ Vineyard and his own Rosella’s Vineyard, both of which have become part of what could be called some the region’s Grand Cru sites. Later Franscioni added this Sierra Mar Vineyard at the same time Pisoni added Soberanes, with these younger vines joining their elite place along side the famous Garys’, Rosella’s and the Pisoni estate at the top of the league. The Sierra Mar Vineyard planted 2007, Roar’s southernmost and highest plantings at 1,100 feet above sea level, benefits from the cool sea breezes, its sandy loam soils and a long growing season to produce some the most compelling grapes in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. Franscioni says the heavily sloped terrain and thin soils, gravelly decomposed granite, encourages deep root systems and excellent drainage, with complexity coming too through the site’s combination of 943, Calera, Pisoni and Swan clones found here at the Sierra Mar Vineyard. Moving on from this vintage selection, Roar’s current lineup or 2021 wines are outstanding, especially the set of Pinots, with the Rosella’s being my favorite!
($N/A) 94 Points, grapelive

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