2021 Lucia by Pisoni, Chardonnay, Soberanes Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands.
The Pisoni’s say the 2021 growing season in the Santa Lucia Highlands was cool, calm, and collected – a trifecta of traits that is welcomed by any grape grower or winemaker. Which has made for some absolutely amazing wines, and especially winemaker Jeff Pisoni’s Lucia Soberanes Chardonnay here that is one of the best I’ve ever tasted from this prestigious winery, founded by his dad Gary, who first planed vines in the Santa Lucia Highlands around 1982, and while known for the Pinots, their Chardonnays are outstanding. The cool vintage and extra hang time has made this Soberanes Chardonnay brilliantly chiseled with Burgundy like elegance and a deep underlying concentration, this is on par with the very best in California, it has energy, depth and unbelievable length. The full bodied palate shows exceptional layering with lemon curd, white peach, classic apple and pear notes and golden fig fruits, as well as pretty white flowers, clove spice, delicate tropical essences, wet stones, hazelnut and restrained lees and wood accents, all making for a legendary bottle. This Soberanes Chardonnay was really shinning when I tasted it, poured for me by Gary Pisoni’s other son Mark, who oversees the farming for the family and who was very excited for this vintage, telling me everything just came in at close to perfection as it gets. The Soberanes Vineyard, which is the latest joint venture between the Pisoni and Franscioni (Roar) families, has a diverse selection of genetic material planted with an exciting collection of heritage and modern clones, these include a unique Montrachet clone along with a set Dijon selections, Old Wente and Hyde to name a few that are thriving here, and have helped make this wine so fabulously rewarding.

One of the SLH’s hottest properties and a stellar site, the Soberanes Vineyard, planted near the famed Garys’ Vineyard in 2007, bears, as the Pisoni family explains, 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 (to most of the highlands here) as repayment for his loan of forty horses, fifty head of cattle, four oxen and some sheep. Sitting up where it gets a cooling blast of Ocean air almost all day long, and as mentioned adjacent to Garys’ Vineyard, it share a similar terroir with the sandy loam soils that boast a significant amount, as the Pisoni’s add, sub-soil boulders layered into the alluvial fan here that adds to the complexity and mineral driven personality. Jeff Pisoni, who studied under Vanessa Wong and made wines at Peter Michael, is wonderfully gifted and does some incredible Pinot Noir, Syrah and in particular Chardonnay, as this wine clearly shows. This vintage is stellar, for those that love Aubert, Marcassin, Mount Eden, Hazel, the mentioned Peter Michael and or Morlet, you’ll want to not miss this elite stuff. Jeff, who has a state of the art facility that uses gravity flow as part of a custom design feature that was, as he puts it, conceived to merge the estate vineyards and winery. This his says affords them complete control of the farming and winemaking process, ensuring consistently superior quality and the results have been nothing short of impressive across the range of wines done under both the Lucia and Pisoni Estate labels. The Lucia Soberanes Chardonnay, of which only 205 cases were made, saw a soft whole cluster pressing and a native yeast fermentation in carefully selected French oak barrels, where the wines was aged sur lie for 17 months with 35% new wood used. This is one of the best wines I’ve tried this year and is an outrageous value for the quality on display here, it easily bests wines twice or three times the price! So this wine had to be my #chardonnayday wine.
($65 ESt.) 97 Points, grapelive

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