Celebrating Pinot Noir at the SLH Gala

Amongst one of our favorite California wine regions is Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH), a mountain range that overlooks the Salinas River Valley, where the grapes benefit from a long growing season to produce some spectacular wines. Whenever we can, we try to make it to the SLH Gala held in May. This year our calendar was open so we made the 2+ hour drive south of San Francisco to another spectacular tasting of the region’s Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Syrah wines.  More than three dozen wineries were pouring over 100 wines.

Although Joyce began by sampling some whites, we both focused overwhelmingly on Pinot Noir, which is our favorite varietals from the area. Although there were certainly a number of multi-vineyard SLH blends, most wineries highlighted single vineyard selections from some of our favorite vineyards including Soberanes, Double L, Sierra Mar, Rosella, Pisoni and our perpetual favorite–Gary’s.

We, of course, walked away with some favorites. Our Gary’s vineyard favorites include Bernardus, Loring, Morgan and Siduri. We also enjoy a number of Soberanes Vineyard wines (including those from La Rochelle, Siduri and ROAR), Sierra Mar (August West, Miner, Siduri, Tondre Grapefield (as from Joyce–the winery, not any relation to us unfortunately). Other interesting single vineyard wines included Pessagno Four Boys’ Vineyard, ROAR Pisoni Vineyards, Belle Glos Las Alturas Vineyard and Mansfield-Dunn Peterson Vineyard. But although we especially enjoyed select, single-vineyard wines, we also liked some of the less expensive, multi-vineyard Pinot blends, especially Manzoni’s 2012, McFarland’s 2013 and Tudor’s 2011 SLH Pinots.

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Nor should we forget about the food. As usual, the wines were accompanied by great tasting snacks (tacos, scallops, summer rolls, chili, charcuterie, roasted pig, cheeses, chocolates and more) from a number of local restaurants and producers.

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All in all, it was a very pleasant way to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

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