Garys’ Vineyard and Susan’s Hill:
2024 Lucia Summer Release

2024 Summer Release
The latest release from Susan's Hill, pictured here nestled into the mountainside above Pisoni Vineyards, serves as an expression of the Pisoni Family's adventurist spirit.

From the high ridge of the hillsides in which Gary Pisoni first planted grapes in the 1980s with visionary flair, the land pitches downward at a dizzying angle. Wind sweeps across this land swiftly, and fog bathes the vines in moisture. When the sun comes out and all of earth seems to fall away beneath your feet, the views dazzle. If you were to ride in the Jeep alongside Gary or his sons Mark, the family’s farmer, and Jeff, Pisoni’s winemaker, you would feel the pitch of the vehicle on the steep roads and the pulse of the rutted ground under its wheels.

In the mountainous Santa Lucia Highlands, the soil is tough and the vines work hard to survive—which is exactly why Gary chose to cultivate vines there. The elevation, the hard-scrabble soil, and the fog all work in concert to create a subtle depth of character in the grapes.

Always intrepid, Gary Pisoni did not rest on his laurels after successfully cultivating Pinot Noir at Pisoni Vineyards. Instead, when his longtime friend Gary Franscioni heard of a property about to become available in the heart of the highlands, the two Garys proposed a partnership. They began their farming collaboration by planning a stealth visit to the site that would eventually be honored with their shared first name.

Careful not to attract too much attention, the duo parked miles from the site. They then “jumped a fence, crawled through a bunch of brush, and crossed a creek,” recalls Franscioni. A few minutes later, and full of scrapes, they found themselves “in the middle of a gently sloping open field that had never been planted.” They instantly fell in love with the rocky ground—soil whose decomposed granite would provide good drainage and stress for the vines.

Soon after, to avoid being spotted, they hurried back to their trucks. But a partnership and farming collaboration was born that day—a venture that remains today almost 30 years later. This type of partnership is unique in grape growing. Jeff explains: “Collaborations in the winery are fairly common, but you rarely see vineyard partnerships. If you’re planting a vineyard, you’re connected over the long term, and you must trust the person you share a property with.” For the two Garys, friends since grammar school, Gary Pisoni comments, “the venture was a natural and Gary is the best partner I’ve ever had.”

Indeed: this recent vintage from Garys’ Vineyard confirm the excellent results. The 2022 Lucia Pinot Noir is “vibrant and concentrated,” Jeff notes. The 2022 Lucia Syrah Susan’s Hill is equally gorgeous, rich with “powerful tannins reminiscent of the mountain structure” where it makes its start.

In Your Cellar

For the Pisoni Family, the release of a new vintage of wines is synchronously the perfect time to reflect upon the previous vintage—it is also a wonderful justification to open a bottle from the library. If you are one of the lucky few to have captured a bottle from the 2021 vintage of Susan’s Hill or Garys’ Vineyard, or luckier yet to still have some stored, read below to see how critics have responded to these bottles.

2021 Lucia Pinot Nior Garys' Vineyard
  • 95 Points Antonio Galloni
  • 96 Points Jeb Dunnuck
  • 97 Points Wine Enthusiast
2021 Lucia Syrah Susan's Hill
  • 95 Points Antonio Galloni
  • 97 Points Jeb Dunnuck
  • 96+ Points Lisa Perrotti-Brown
This is a superb Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot from one of the appellation’s historic families.
Antonio Galloni
On the 2021 Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard

2022 Lucia Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard and Syrah Susan's Hill
The 2024 summer offerings are emblem's of the Pisoni Family's adventurist spirit in the Santa Lucia Highlands.

2024 Summer Release Selections

2022 Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard

This Pinot Noir is born from the gentle sloping hillside of the Garys’ Vineyard. 2022 was an early ripening year, and harvest timing was critical. The Pinot Noir possesses a deep and dark reddish-purple color that informs the concentration to follow. Initial aromas from this wine show a core of ripe cherries, crushed blackberry and highlights of rose petal. Subtle aromas of lavender and baking spice follow. This Pinot Noir is sourced almost entirely from the complex Pisoni Clone and fermented with 100% native yeast, bringing a diverse flavor profile and showing showcasing the hands-off approach to winemaking. A rich mouthfeel and layers of soft tannin stem from the beautiful vintage, farming and gentle winemaking. Enjoy now or age for over a decade in the cellar.

2022 Syrah Susan’s Hill

If there is a wine that exemplifies mountain-grown vineyards, it is the Susan’s Hill Syrah. This block of grapevines is perched on a high ridgetop at Pisoni Vineyards. The 1,300-foot elevation, wind-swept conditions and rugged soil delivers a wine of intense and opaque purple color. The complex aroma is an assembly of muddled black berries, stony minerality and cracked pepper. Elegant notes of violets emit from the glass with additional swirling and air. The palate possesses staggering depth and power, in large part because the minimal yields of one-point-five tons per acre. Seventy five percent whole cluster and native fermentation further capture this site and build complexity. To soften the tannins while maintaining the aromatic intensity, this wine is aged in a large foudre for nearly two years before bottling.


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