Vinous’ review of the Santa Lucia Highlands 2015:
The Grapes of a Wrathful Vintage
The Santa Lucia Highlands region is home to “some of California’s finest Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.” Josh Raynolds wrote in a piece for Vinous last November, before going on to name our “famed” vineyards as “some of the most esteemed” in the area. Mr. Raynolds toured the Santa Lucia Highlands last July and followed up his visit with fall tastings. We were delighted to find that he distinguished our 2015 Pisoni Estate Pinot Noir, as well as a host of Lucia Pinot Noirs, Syrahs, and Chardonnays, with rave reviews.
Bright ruby- red. Intense, highly perfumed aromas of black raspberry, cherry-cola, spicecake and incense, with a powerful floral overtone. Juicy and expansive on the palate, offering powerful red and blue fruit, rose pastille and five- spice powder flavors that become more energetic with air. Closes on a suave floral note, with superb thrust, lingering floral character and sneaky tannins that merge smoothly into the wine’s energetic fruit. This wine’s marriage of power and vivacity is outstanding.
Light, hazy gold. Pungent citrus and orchard fruit aromas are complemented by sexy floral nuances and suggestions of saffron, toasted brioche and chalky minerals. Sappy and penetrating on the palate, offering intense pear, white peach and Meyer lemon flavors that deepen steadily on the back half. The floral note echoes emphatically on a very long, mineral-driven finish that shows impressive power and mineral cut.
Pale yellow-gold. Heady, incisive aromas of ripe pear, nectarine and saffron, with ginger, vanilla and oak spice nuances that build as the wine opens up. Rich yet surprisingly energetic and focused, offering intense, mineral-laced orchard and pit fruit flavors that are given spine and lifted by a vein of juicy acidity. The floral and vanilla notes repeat strongly on an extremely long, seamless finish that shows superb clarity and power.
Vivid ruby-red. Displays intense cherry, black raspberry and incense aromas that pick up smoky mineral and licorice overtones as the wine opens up. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering concentrated red and blue fruit flavors that deepen and spread out on the back half. Shows excellent focus and a sexy floral echo on the impressively long finish, which features zesty acidity and a repeating red berry note.
Deep, bright red. Spice- and mineral-laced raspberry and cherry aromas show excellent clarity and a suave floral nuance. Appealingly sweet and energetic in the mouth, offering sappy red fruit, spicecake and rose pastille flavors that are energized by white pepper and smoky mineral accents. Expands and deepens with air while maintaining vivacity and focus and finishes sweet and very long, with harmonious tannins and a lingering hint of vanilla.
Brilliant ruby-red. Displays sexy, spice-laced dark berry and cherry-cola scents that are complemented by suggestions of allspice, potpourris and smoky minerals. Silky, seamless and broad on the palate, offering appealing sweet blackberry, cherry liqueur and floral pastille flavors that tighten up slowly and become spicier on the back half. Delivers solid punch but comes off lithe, finishing with powerful, floral-driven thrust, strong tenacity and dusty tannins that add structure and final grip.
Youthful purple. A wild, complex bouquet evokes cassis, cherry pie, smoked meat, candied licorice and violet, with a peppery element lending vivacity. Offers alluring, sweet black and blue fruit and spicecake flavors that are given spine and lift by a core of juicy acidity. The smoky quality repeats on an impressively long, youthfully tannic finish that leaves notes of candied flowers and dark chocolate behind.
Inky ruby. A highly perfumed bouquet displays ripe, smoke-accented dark fruit preserve, potpourris and incense qualities. Fleshy and expansive on the palate, offering densely packed yet lively boysenberry, candied licorice and violet pastille flavors that are enlivened by a jolt of juicy acidity. Melds richness and finesse smoothly and finishes extremely long and pleasant, leaving dark berry and spicecake notes behind.
Bright purple. Displays mineral- and smoke-accented aromas of black and blue fruit liqueur, violet and olive paste that are lifted and sharpened by a lively cracked pepper flourish. Juicy and broad on the palate, offering deeply concentrated blueberry, bitter cherry and star anise flavors that deepen and become sweeter with aeration. Shows superb depth as well as energy and finishes smoky and extremely long, with a resonating florality and slow-building tannins.
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