If one hundred decisions are made between harvest and bottling, we imagine over one thousand go into tending a vineyard. After twenty-five years of meticulous farming, the data tells us this: Garys’ Vineyard is meant for Pinot Noir.
One of the many gratifications of the Lucia label is that the vineyards from which its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah derive allow the Pisoni family room to grow as winemakers right alongside their vines. The Pisoni family crafted the first vintage of Lucia Pinot Noir in 2000 from fruit harvested at Garys’ Vineyard. Two short years later, the Pisoni family began producing Lucia Chardonnay and Syrah as well. Since 1997, when Gary Pisoni and Gary Franscioni planted vines at Garys’ Vineyard, this site has been home to two varieties: Pinot Noir—the so-called noble grape favored by rulers since the days of Rome—and ruby-colored Syrah. Twenty-five years of meticulous farming has provided the two Garys and their families the right amount of viticulture data to devote this vineyard to a single grape. This summer, they will replace the Syrah vines with what they have learned grows best at this particular site: Pinot Noir.
If you’re one of the people who cannot do without the Pisoni family’s Syrah (and such fans are legion), never fear. The family remains committed to crafting this varietal as part of its Lucia label. Look to Susan’s Hill and Soberanes Vineyard in the years to come for more gorgeous expressions of this wine.
The decision to focus on Pinot Noir in Garys’ Vineyard has allowed the partners, as well as Mark and brother Jeff, the family’s winemaker, to take a long look back at this site. For the Pisonis, winemaking is an art of evolution, not revolution. Terroir—a sum total of the complex and intricate ways in which soil, weather, and geography interact in any given place—is best perceived across the seasons. Mark explains: “It can take generations to figure out what varietals work best for specific vineyards.” At Garys’ Vineyard, the specificities of land and climate make Pinot Noir the perfect choice.
It’s challenging and intriguing for farmers to cultivate grapes on sites whose character varies widely. But as Jeff explains, there’s “beauty in intuiting and recognizing what consistency allows.” Pinot, a vine of lower vigor and lower yields, best speaks the character of Garys’ Vineyard. Letting the land speak through the fruit requires flexibility, humility, and a great deal of expertise—all of which the Pisoni brothers possess in spades.
They’re very happy with the decision. “The original vision was Pinot Noir,” Jeff adds. “Now we find ourselves reflecting on the past as we look to the future at Garys’ Vineyard.”
Syrah has had a great run at Garys’ Vineyard, culminating with two very good years, back-to-back. Jeff sees the results in the 2019 vintage of Syrah, one “characterized by great richness, density, and complex tannins.” The latest and last in Garys Vineyard is an age-worthy wine that will cellar beautifully. So, though an era is coming to a close at Garys’, in your wine cellar, as on other land in the Santa Lucia Highlands, it will finish with a flourish.
Garys' Vineyard Selections
The result of another spectacular growing season in the Santa Lucia Highlands, the 2019 Garys’ Vineyard Pinot Noir is an exquisite offering from this legendary site. Richly hued in the glass, this vibrant, medium ruby wine sings with concentrated aromas of raspberry liqueur, black cherry, and rose petal. Adding depth and complexity with each swirl, distinct notes of sandalwood and baking spice create a constantly evolving and unmistakable bouquet. Capitalizing on character from the alluvial soils of this gently sloped, east-facing vineyard, the vines ripened each cluster slowly and evenly, benefitting from wind-swept summer afternoons. Coating the palate like a layer of velvet, flavors of strawberry compote, kirsch, and black tea are backed by hints of toasty, spicy oak and vibrant acidity. A stunning representation of this storied varietal in its youth, this wine will continue to develop gracefully for more than a decade.
Possessing a deep, staining purple hue from edge to edge, the 2019 Lucia Garys’ Vineyard Syrah boasts with an impressively complex and powerful profile as it fills the glass. A wine that is always true to its variety, this Syrah explodes with a dizzying array of savory and dark fruit aromas. Evolving slowly, notes of white pepper, smoked meat, and star anise burst forth, but are kept in perfect balance by and unyielding, secondary bouquet of cassis and juicy blueberry pie. Rich, concentrated flavors of spiced plum and dark chocolate coat the palate, while hints of black pepper and Herbs de Provence beckon thoughts of the Old World. Well integrated tannin begins a seamless transition to the finish, where vibrant, youthful acidity born from the coastal influences of the Monterey Bay declares that this wine has just begun a long, rewarding life in bottle.