The Pisoni family keep going from success to success, with hard work, charm and talent of course the main reasons, plus sublime vineyard sites that make for stylish, rich and terroir wines year after year. Jeff Pisoni’s winemaking continues to showcase the greatness of the family vines from the Pisoni Estate to the new Soberanes Vineyard and this latest set of wines again set the standards for the Santa Lucia Highlands, even in the 2011 vineyard which was a real challenge, Jeff has got everything you could ever want from these wines, especially his magical touch on the Chardonnay, and the Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot, though I would not overlook his fun and for a worthy cause Lucy Rose of Pinot Noir, every bottle sold gives a dollar to research on breast cancel. The Soberanes Pinot is still tight and a bit aggressive at this stage, some of which might be the fact this wine comes from the young vines, but there is plenty of fruit and depth to make this wine interesting. Soberanes has massive potential and should prove to be one of the best sites yet for the Highlands and every winemaker that has got fruit from there wants more! Lucia is a winery in demand, and given the fair pricing these wines sell out fast, in fact they would spend a week on the shelves of your favorite wine store or winelists, and in some cases they will be sold out in hours if not minutes, especially as there was such a small crop for the 2011 vintage. I was grateful for the chance to sample the Spring releases and reinforce my own views, these are wonderful and expressive wines that highlight a sense of place and talent, bravo to the whole Pisoni family and team. Please also note the beautiful new labels and design quality, these are great packages that now on par with the wines inside and individually highlight each wine very nicely.
2012 Lucy Rose, Santa Lucia Highlands (by Lucia Vineyards)
Vibrancy and style mark the new Lucy Rose from Lucia and the Pisoni’s, and as per normal it is a big and robust pink wine that always tells a story, in this case we know that 2012 will be another blockbuster year for the Pisoni and Lucia Pinot Noir, plus with the sales of this wine gives a dollar for each bottle sold to breast cancel it also tells of the heart and giving nature of Gary Pisoni and his sons, something I can vouch for as well, as they have always been kind and helpful to me personally. The 2012 Lucy has bright color, good density and lovely flavors, perfect for summer and for Pinot lovers that want something cold on a hot day! Rose petals, sour cherry, watermelon, plum and strawberry lead the way with touches of mineral essence, sweet herbs, spice and tangy red citrus. While not a traditional rose, it surly is classic Pisoni and loads of fun.
($22 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive
2011 Lucia, Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands.
Jeff Pisoni’s Chardonnay wine are seriously stylish, elegant and richly textured wines, he certainly learned a lot in his time at Peter Michael, but he also brought his own unique touch as well, his wine capture his family’s impressive impact, but they also manage to be remarkably poised and filled with life and soul, these Chardonnay wines have always been the sleepers in the Pisoni collection, and it seems odd they take a backseat to the more famous Pinot Noir when they are just as good, no question. The 2011 Lucia Chardonnay has a core of lemony acidity that is not unlike top Burgundy wines, think Meursault, but remains pure California in every sense with peachy richness and creamy texture. The nose has hints of pineapple and honey with a hint of earth before an ever expanding palate of white peach, pear and lemon curd with subtle smoke, hazelnut, brioche, clarified cream and vanilla. Still zesty and racy, but with full intentions and lengthy dense finish. Drink this beauty over the next 3-5 years.
($40 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive
2011 Lucia, Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands.
This cuvee of selected plots and clones from different Pisoni sites continues to be the benchmark for quality in this price range for the region, I honestly can’t think of better SLH Pinot for the price and there are more than a dozen wines that sell for lots more that just are not this good, but regardless of value to the wallet this is a brilliant effort and very easy to love from start to finish. This is seriously delicious Pinot Noir with clear focus and character with rose petals, hints of violets, mineral spice, lavender/herb notes and a striking core of black cherry, plum and raspberry fruit while warm oak notes, silky tannins and strawberry fill in the background layers. Still young and forceful, but showing the deft touch in the winemaking to make such a pretty and refined Pinot Noir, sadly there won’t be a lot available.
($40 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive
2011 Lucia, Pinot Noir “Soberanes Vineyard” Santa Lucia Highlands.
While this is a well made and pleasing wine, it is still very tight, robust and has a touch of drying tannin, which I think comes from the young vines and the fact that 2011 is a very transparent vintage, but still there is plenty of fruit and style to go around in this forceful Pinot Noir, and those familiar with Pisoni with be used to this macho expression and will clearly love it. I’d give it a bit of time to settle myself, but then not wait too long to drink it, I put a window of 2015-2018 on it, though it should prove to be great with food, especially filet or other delicate cuts of meat. Without question Soberanes looks to become a legendary vineyard along with Garys’ and the famed Pisoni sites and this wine definitely serves notice of that with bold flavors, intensity and richness with driving black plum, cherry and loganberry fruits, peppery spices, tea notes, briar and licorice snap. Even my concerns about drying tannins, can’t help the smile this wine put on my face and again those used to Pisoni will really dig this vintage of soberness. Maybe not as polished as I would have liked, this is a very good and well made wine that will certainly have plenty of fans, and considering the pedigree, it will sell out very fast, it is also true to it’s place and year as it could be.
($50 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive