2018 Joyce Wine Company, Pinot Noir, River Road Cuvee, Santa Lucia Highlands.
This super tasty new cuvee from Joyce Wine Company is a Pinot Noir barrel selection blend of special lots coming from mostly Tondre Grapefield and Escolle Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands and looks set to be a tasting room only offering, which is a step up from the highly successful Monterey County regional blend Submarine Canyon and at a price point just below the single vineyard bottlings. A bit deeper in style with a dark garnet/ruby hue in the glass and with expressive fruit intensity and with a crunchy array of mineral, earth and spice to satisfy the medium bodied palate that fleshes out with air. The nose starts with brambles, truffle and wilted roses with hint of blackberry and underbrush leading to a layered and smooth mouth adding black cherry, plum and cranberry fruits, a touch of loam, blood orange tea and nutmeg. These 2018 vintage wines from Joyce are all excellent, especially the Pinots, like this one, but also be sure to keep an eye out for Russell Joyce’s special Small Lot Collection series too, his old vine Grenache & Grenache-Syrah bottlings are off the charts, more on them soon, this is a killer vintage from this Monterey winery.
Made with a gentle touch and only neutral French Burgundy sized barriques, Russell and his team are going for a sense of place and a purity of form, and succeeding in capturing the SLH and the vintage. 2018 was a long and mostly cool year that allowed a less frenzied approach and no compromises with picking and or winemaking, this is a stellar vintage to explore the Central Coast wines, from top to bottom the wines really excel and Joyce has a stunning set from which to choose, including this one. Comparing it to Burgundy, you’d say this was like a Lieu-Dit or a cuvee exceptional that performs better than a straight village or basic Bougogne. Crafted with partial whole-cluster, giving a briar kick and lifting the aromatics and traditional hand punch downs for good extraction, the River Road has a complex flavor dimension and looks set to get even better with some more bottle age, it is also flexible and interesting with different cuisine options from blackened salmon, pork dishes and roast poultry to a filet of beef. This one will definitely intrigue and evolve over the next 3 to 5 years, it is to the Santa Lucia Highlands, as Anthill Farms is with their (Anderson Valley) regional bottling is to Anderson Valley, a solid and authentic SLH Pinot and a nice addition to the Joyce lineup.
($35 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive