The Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot is a nice example; beyond the typical strawberry-raspberry-cherry character we can smell and taste hints of tea leaf, cola, redwood forest and mushroom, nuances that are accentuated in a cooler year. We used a more delicate set of barrels with this vintage to great benefit as well; there is oaky vanilla and spice in the wine but it's a light touch that compliments the natural flavors nicely.
Highlands’ Pinots are known for their dense fruit core and this release is no exception. Lush dark berry and bing cherry aromas and flavors are at the fore. There is intriguing notes of sage, thyme, and violets, with a nice overlay of vanillin-oak from the French cooperage. Tannins are dry and medium-weight, balancing with the trademark SLH cool climate acidity. Drinking well now, the ’14 S.V. Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir will also reward a few years of patient cellaring. It should prove a perfect pairing with grilled salmon, seared duck breast, and most lamb preparations.
It was another drought year throughout the Central Coast. Yields for 2014 were light but the Pinot Noir arriving at the winery on September 16 from White Sage was of very good quality, with ripe, focused flavors and acids.
After a cold soak, fermentation began using yeast RC212 in small, open top bins. Manual punchdowns of the cap occurred twice daily prior to the wine being pressed and “barreled down” for eleven months aging in small French oak cooperage, thirty-three percent of which was new wood. The wine was bottled in late August of 2015.
White Sage Ranch, Santa Lucia Highlands
Cooperage: French oak 33% new, 11 months