Tag: Monterey

Ranch 32 2016 Chardonnay

I’m loving the cool climate wines from Ranch 32. From their Cabernet Sauvignon to their Pinot Noir, they truly keep the essence of the fruit in the bottle. And this Chardonnay is no exception. Aged completely in stainless steel, just a kiss of ML in the blend, Ranch 32 truly knows what “minimalistic winemaking” means. Bonus point: this restrained Chardonnay comes at an affordable price, which means you can enjoy this wine just as easily with a mid-week meal as you could on date night.

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Ranch 32 2015 Estate Pinot Noir

Hello Arroyo Seco, I love your Pinot Noirs. Sunken beneath the Santa Lucia Highlands, you love the ocean air as much as I do, hugging it, holding it, as it feeds your grapes. You get just enough sun to let those berries bud, but use the foothill range to shield them from harsh winds. And in the right winemakers hands, you give us Pinot Noir wine so uniquely your own.

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Ranch 32 2016 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

When you think Monterey, what varietals do you think of? I’m going to guess the brain heads straight to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Indeed, the overall cool climate of the larger Monterey AVA is known for its maritime influence, as it’s nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Monterey Bay — ideal conditions for the picky Pinot Noir and for crafting Chardonnay with crisp acidity. But when Monterey was first embarked upon as a winemaking region, the first vineyards planted were to, none other than the king of grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Of course what we know now about soil composition and climate has greatly changed. Our enhanced understanding has allowed grape growers to plant grapes where they’ll thrive best. The Hames Valley, where Ranch 32 grows their Cabernet is one of the warmer portions of Monterey. Located at the foot of the Santa Lucia Highlands, the valley is sheltered from the afternoon winds and cooling temperatures that otherwise stream through the regions. And it is because of this warmth, along with the shaly loam soils, that Cabernet reigns supreme in the Hames Valley. 

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Wrath Wines 2015 Ex Vite Pinot Noir

I first came into contact with Wrath Wines during a Pinot Noir-focused tasting in SF. I was immediately drawn to the combination of elegance and rusticity they were able to capture into their wines. Indeed, working with fruit from Monterey County’s Santa Lucia Highland AVA means working with some seriously structured fruit — even Pinot Noirs can be a bit harsh. Not so here.

I was delighted to find them in my package of SIP Certified wines and have the chance to dive deep into the varietal that (I think) they do so well.

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Theopolis Vineyards 2016 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

After tasting the Theopolis Vineyards 2015 Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir, I was absolutely curious to try Theodora’s take on the grapes from Santa Lucia Highland. While both Yorkville and Santa Lucia are mountainous regions whose climates and terroir are affected by their proximity to the ocean, my lone experience with the Yorkville expression of Pinot Noir could not have been more different than my multiple experiences of the grapes from SLH. So to taste the juxtaposition from this talented winemaker was both a treat and an educational experience.

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