California’s Performance on the WS Top 100: Santa Lucia Highlands
I was not surprised to see that a couple of wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands made the WS Top 100 list. This is one of the most exciting regions in California, and is home to some of the best Pinot Noir vineyards in the world.
The Santa Lucia Highlands AVA has several things going for it that makes its Pinot so consistent. The soil contains quite a bit of limestone which is always desirable for Burgundian grapes. Additionally, the climate is blessed with a very long, moderate growing season.
It is no accident that Rosella’s Vineyard and Garys’ Vineyard have consistently made some of the very top Pinot Noir from California. Both have are planted on southeast facing hills and are owned by perfectionist grape growers.
At #59 on the WS 100, the Loring 2004 Rosella’s Vineyard Pinot Noir is from Gary Franscioni’s vines. He is from an old Salinas farming family that has been growing fruits and vegetables for years. In 1996, Franscioni planted Rosella’s Vineyard with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah on prime, southeast facing slopes.
The Siduri 2004 Garys’ Vineyard Pinot Noir is was ranked just behind Loring at #60. Garys’ Vineyard is a partnership between Gary Franscioni and Gary Pisoni. This property also has a southeast exposure and is planted in the sandy-loam, limestone influenced soils of the Santa Lucia Highlands.