Jeb Dunnuck on the “Grand Cru” 2015 Vintage

We are pleased to share recent reviews from Jeb Dunnuck, the extraordinary wine critic who tasted the Pisoni and Lucia wines on July 20th, 2017. Formerly of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Mr. Dunnuck’s new online publication offers comprehensive coverage through regional reports and reviews of the top wines of the world. Of the 2015 vintage, Dunnuck writes, “This was an incredible tasting and both the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are unquestionably some of the best coming out of California today.” Of the Pisoni Vineyard, Dunnuck highlights its unique soils, saying “granite is rare in California grape growing regions, yet speaks clearly in all of these wines and makes this a truly unique site.”

“The 2015 Pinot Noir comes mostly from the exposed ridges of the Pisoni Vineyard, which is unquestionably one of the gems in the appellation, as well as in all California. The 2015 is a more elegant, finesse-driven example of this cuvee than normal and is a thrillingly complex, nuanced Pinot Noir I wish every reader could taste. Fermented with 20-25% whole clusters and aged in 60-65% new French oak, it offers a great bouquet of black raspberries, spring flowers, crushed violets, spice and subtle minerality. Medium to full-bodied, silky, and incredibly long, it’s a world class Pinot Noir to drink over the coming decade.”


“Coming from 4 to 5 individual blocks in the Pisoni Vineyard and half Wente and half suitcase clones (which are a mix of Montrachet clones and a selection from Soberanes), the 2015 Chardonnay is another beautiful white from this team. Stone fruits, hints of buttered peach, honeycomb and plenty of charcoal-like minerality give way to gorgeous, elegant, seamless chardonnay that has terrific length. This is a seriously impressive Chardonnay that’s going to benefit from short term cellaring and drink well for over a decade. This was bottled in January.”


Chardonnay


“Coming from the rockiest part of the vineyard, the 2015 Chardonnay Soberanes Vineyard sees all native fermentations and roughly 50% new oak (a small portion was done in a second-fill foudre). This gorgeous Chardonnay offers classic stone fruits, hints of pineapple, brioche and white flowers. Elegant, layered, and impeccably balanced on the palate, this is a sensational Chardonnay to drink over the coming 4-6 years.”


“The 385-case 2015 Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay is a blend from the Soberanes and Pisoni Vineyards (mostly a mix of various Wente clones) and is whole cluster pressed directly to barrel and sees a touch of lees stirring. A deep, rich, layered style of Chardonnay, it has lots of brioche, charcoal and sautéed stone fruits all developing with time in the glass.”


Pinot Noir


“Coming mostly from the Pisoni Vineyard, with the balance Garys and Soberanes, the 2015 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir offers terrific depth and concentration, with loads of black cherry, black raspberry, spring flower and forest floor aromas and flavors. Brought up in 50% new barrels, it’s a serious appellation blend that has real depth and length, and overdelivers in spades. Drink it anytime over the coming 4-5 years.”


“Winemaker Jeff Pisoni commented that the Soberanes Vineyard yields the most feminine and elegant style of wine from all the vineyards they farm. Brought up with 30% whole clusters and 45% new French oak, the 260-case 2015 Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard’s vibrant ruby color is followed by classic, Côte de Nuit-like notes of crushed rocks, flowers, violets and peppery herbs intermixed with blackberry and black cherry fruit. It’s more fresh and lively on the palate, with bright acidity and a clean, lightly textured style that’s ideal for drinking anytime over the coming 7-8 years.”


“The 2015 Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard is mostly destemmed (roughly 5% whole-clusters) and offers a more perfumed, exotic, fruit-driven style in its blueberry, black cherry, crushed violet and spring flower aromatics. Exotic, supple, fresh and elegant on the palate, with the classic 2015 exuberance and lift, it has tons to love and is already hard to resist. Jeff commented that the 2015s are all less tannic than the 2013s and 2014s, yet I’ve no doubt this beauty will keep for a decade given its overall balance and harmony.”


Syrah


“The Hermitage (or Cornas?) of California, the 2015 Syrah Susan’s Hill comes from a single block of granitic soils in the Pisoni Vineyard, which is located on the southern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands. It’s a tannic, structured, serious wine that has gorgeous purity in its crème de cassis, charcoal, blueberries, wood smoke and violet-laced aromas and flavors. It picks up more olive and floral notes with air, has tons of gamey Syrah characteristics, bright acidity, plenty of elegance, and a great finish. It’s a year in, year out, smoking value that readers shouldn’t miss.”


2015 Lucia Soberanes Vineyard
95 points

“The 2015 Syrah Soberanes Vineyard certainly doesn’t lack for color and reveals a deep purple color to go with a fresh, lively bouquet of blueberries, cracked black pepper, violets and bay leaf. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, with an incredible seamlessness, it has a cool-climate slant, with notable elegance, yet has plenty of California fruit. Drink this terrific Syrah anytime over the coming decade.”


“The 2015 Syrah Soberanes Vineyard certainly doesn’t lack for color and reveals a deep purple color to go with a fresh, lively bouquet of blueberries, cracked black pepper, violets and bay leaf. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, with an incredible seamlessness, it has a cool-climate slant, with notable elegance, yet has plenty of California fruit. Drink this terrific Syrah anytime over the coming decade.”


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