The joys of receiving wines through a wine club, is that one never knows what to expect, and it might not be what one was thinking about. The second bottle of wine that I unpacked from “A Taste of Monterey” would have made my ears perk up and piqued my curiosity. A Pinot Noir wine from the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County definitely would make me happy. It is just always interesting to find out about a wine, especially from a new winery, and trust me, there are plenty of wineries that are new to me.
August West Wine produces Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah wines from their partner’s vineyards at their winery in San Francisco. Wines are typically released in January, April and September of each year, and one must be on their allocation list, normally to get the new wines. One of their partners is the Graham Family Vineyard in the Russian River Valley appellation, in the sub-appellation of Green Valley and the vineyard was founded in 2001 by Howard Graham. John Peterson is their second partner and he owns two distinct vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Cortada Alta and is the highest vineyard in the appellation and was planted in 2014.
August West Wine Peterson Vineyard Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands 2014 exemplifies the fruit from John Peterson’s first vineyard started in 2010. It is just shy of ten acres located in the heart of the Santa Lucia Highlands. 2014 was a very tricky year as California was in the midst of its third year of drought. Part of the vineyard was trimmed by deer who because of the draught discovered the vines as they were near the Salinas River. The crop ended up sixty percent down from 2012 and 2013, but quality of the vintage was still the same. The fruit was destemmed for fermentation and then aged for eleven months in French Oak, of which sixty-seven percent was new. The wine is said to offer the classic appeal of Pinot Noir from the appellation and with all of the new oak, there will be extra “toastiness” and spice to savor. There were one-hundred-forty-six cases of wine produced and six to eight years of aging potential. This is definitely a wine that I would not have encountered on my own.