The Santa Lucia Highlands is one of the crown jewels of California viticulture, producing some of the state’s best cool climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah. Over 200 years ago Spanish missionaries recognized the unique soil and climate and began planting grapevines in the area. Today, the appellation encompasses more than 6,000 acres of prime vineyards, most planted on the elevated terraces of the Santa Lucia mountain range and in close proximity to nearby Monterey Bay.
Gary Pisoni first planted his eponymous vineyard here in 1982. It is one of the highest in the region, with well-drained alluvial soils. The vineyards start at just above the valley floor and rise to elevations of up to 1300 feet. The hillside, with its southeast-facing orientation grabs the morning sun and the afternoon breezes cool the vineyards down so that the grapes don’t ripen too quickly. This provides the time necessary for remarkable flavors to develop.
Produced from three small blocks, Gary’s extraordinary Lucia Chardonnay is the perfect expression of the Pisoni family’s commitment to wines of both character and sustainability. With bright yellow-green hues and a slight unfiltered haze, it first tantalizes the nose with intriguing aromas of white peach and pineapple. The palate is then enamored with nuaned notes of ripe pear, nectarine, and honeysuckle. While oak is evident here, it is used udiciously just to add that delicate but essential hint of vanilla. The result is a bright yet well-textured wine with vibrant acidity that provides a complex array of expressive flavors through to a lingering finish.