The Santa Lucia Highlands are undoubtdly one of the crown jewels of California viticulture, producing some of the state’s finest cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah.
Spanish missionaries first recognized the unique soil and climate of the area over 200 years ago planting their grapevines on the rolling windswept hillsides. Today, the appellation encompasses more than 6,000 acres of world-class vineyards, most planted on the elevated terraces of the Santa Lucia mountain range and in close proximity to nearby Monterey Bay.
It was here that Gary Pisoni first planted his eponymous vineyard back in 1982. One of the highest in the region, its also boasted well-drained alluvial soils. With southeast-facing vineyards starting at just above the valley floor and rising to elevations of up to 1300 feet, the hillside grabs the morning sun and then enjoys afternoon breezes that cool things down dramatically so that the grapes don’t ripen too quickly. This provides the time and variance necessary for truly remarkable flavors to develop.
Produced from three small blocks, Gary’s superlative Lucia Chardonnay is an expression of the Pisoni family’s commitment to wines of both character and sustainability. With its bright yellow-green hues and slight unfiltered haze, it tantalizes the nose with intriguing aromas of white peach and pineapple. Afterwards the palate is enamored with nuanced notes of ripe pear, nectarine, and honeysuckle. Oak is barely evident, used judiciously to add a bit of structure and a hint of vanilla. The result is a wine with vibrant acidity and subtle yet sumptuous flavors that survive through a lingering finish.