One of our favorite California wine regions is Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH). Located in a mountain range that overlooks the Salinas River Valley, it has grapes that benefit from a long growing season and 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.
Our Favorite Wines
Joyce began by sampling some whites. But we both focused overwhelmingly on Pinot Noir, which is our favorite varietal 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 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 and 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.
Great Food Too
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.
All in all, it was a very pleasant way to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon.