Our Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir is a blend of Pinots from several specially selected vineyards. It amply demonstrates all the characteristics that have made this wine region world famous for its Pinot Noirs.
In the glass, we find gorgeous aromas of candied red cherry and spice, along with subtle oak notes. The palate is redolent with ripe red fruit flavors and a bright, crisp finish.
Appellation: Santa Lucia Highlands
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir
Available States: AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, KS, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI, WY
Winery: Bernardus Winery
Owners: Ben Pon
Location: Carmel Valley, CA
Widely traveled and endowed with impeccable taste, Ben Pon could have chosen anywhere in the world to establish his namesake Bernardus Winery, with the intention of cultivating premier class wines. He selected Carmel Valley, with its west-facing orientation, hot days and chilly nights, and stunning beauty, confident his vineyards there could produce wines to rival the greatest on the globe. More than a quarter-century later, he’s accomplished that not only with his estate Bordeaux blend, called Marinus (after his middle name), but with a powerhouse portfolio of single-vineyard-designated Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
The Bernardus team’s attention to detail, high standards and passion for making stellar wine ensure every bottle of Marinus, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc offers the chance to “Taste a Dream,” as Mr. Pon envisioned decades ago — and still does today.
AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IA, KS, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI, WY
FedEx Ground: Friday, January 26th - Tuesday, January 30th
We going to have better winery participation on this one?
CT average pricing $22.85 and $35 + ship from the winery, so at $21.66/3 and 16.25/12 a reasonable case level discount compared to what others have paid at the winery or a short list of on-line sites; WTSO and WineAccess both mentioned.
@paullaf I don’t think Ron was saying the bottle price is too high, especially at the case price. Simply that comparing to the CT average value yields a slightly different impression compared to the retail price - as it often does.
(at sign removed on purpose, since I’m pontificating at some length)
InFrom :-} Yeah, I saw that link as well (although long after I’d purchased this wine, and added it in my cellar). I’m actually fine, either way (old or new). I’ve been a Luddite long enough to know that the rest of the world is not going to fall into step with me. Truthfully, I wouldn’t want that.
I debated over whether to purchase this one, truthfully, since it’s so easy for me to get very good PN from Oregon (which is right next door, after all). I have the feeling that sales for this one will be rather slow. I also wonder whether the long term “buy a case and split with others” will work out in the long term. It is unlikely that I will ever participate on that, although I admit there are wines that I would purchase a case of. Not right now, though, since I seem to have a LOT of wine…fortunately, I also have friends who like gifts.
I’d be willing to try a bottle or two (Seattle-Tacoma) at the case price, but the alcohol level on this Pinot gives me a bit of pause. Would like to hear more from the winemaker on how this alcohol level can feel balanced. Call me old school, but I prefer to see 13.5 on a Pinot.
@hrammel thanks for the reply. interested in TA as well if you have it. I’ll be taking a flyer on this if Seattle area can get up to a case. In general 15% and 3.8 pH wouldn’t be in my wheelhouse for Pinot purchases without tasting first.
@ACraigL Likely slow. Not a great quantity of these out in the community and only a single CT note for this vintage, (and very few for other vintages) so unless one is familiar with the winery, house style and possibly vintage, without the great rat reports like we had yesterday, it’s still pretty much an unknown flyer.
It’s still early, west coast, so hopefully a rep or even the winemaker from Bernardus may join in to provide some additional information that is totally lacking from the producers’ website. There’s not even a ‘trade’ section on the producers site with additional information.
Also, unlike yesterday, where many wooters were quite familiar with Little, I don’t recall this producer coming up recently if at all on ww.
SLH is a good area for PN in general, and WD does have his rep of sourcing quality juice to uphold…
I know it’s like a rat died in my mouth, but unlike most other wines I fine there to be very little difference between PNs under the ~$35 pricepoint- it all tends to be heavy on the liquid cherry jolly rancher and light on complexity.
PN is the only varietal in which, for me, the difference between $10 and $25 is minimal compared to the difference between $25 and $35+.
If the winemaker comes on: I know multiple sources, but what type of clonal diversity goes into this?
@mother good to see you here! I agree that a lot of cheap (under ~$30 - sigh!) Pinot is close to undrinkable. In California, I tend to stick with (relatively) cool weather area Pinots - Carneros, Petaluma Gap, Russian River (including Green Valley), Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley, etc. Not so much the Central coast areas, but this one looks interesting per conversations with WD. Oregon Pinot tends to be more complex and more Burgundian, but expensive, though you can sometimes find bargains.
@rpm Good to be seen! You are somewhat culpable for my knowing good PN from the alco-pop variety!
And for sure most of the Pinot’s I’ve really enjoyed in the past have been RRV, AV, and most definitely Carneros. [I’m not sure I will ever top the QPR of that post-sale Buena Vista Ramal in the screwtops!]
I’m the tasting room manager for this winery. We take Pinots very seriously! We produce 8 different Pinots from Monterey County. 4 of those are vineyard designated from the renowned Santa Lucia Highland AVA. This wine is a compilation of those vineyards: Sierra Mar, Garys’, Pisoni, Rosellas and Soberanes. Easy drinking, smooth and fruit forward. My personal “everyday bottle of wine”.
Our winemaker: “As the winemaker at Bernardus for the past 13 years, I have always followed a philosophy of making wines that are well balanced- not under ripe nor over ripe. In my opinion, this is the best way to present wines that truly reflect the style and quality of their terroir and the hard work these vineyard managers put into growing fine wines.”
Our Winemaker just opened a bottle and had this to say “Color has medium intensity. On the nose there are clean red berry and rose pedal aromas accented by spicy notes. The palate is soft and very full showing ripe red fruit flavors which linger on a very smooth, long finish. This Pinot is prime for drinking now and for the next several years.”
WineDavid gave me a wonderful surprise - a chance to try this 2014 Bernardus Pinot Noir, SLH.
The wine is light red, tending (as Pinot should) slightly to brick/orange tones rather than purple (no blending with Syrah or megapurple or anything else).
The aromas also show intensity with great Pinot Noir purity. Cool climate aromas dominate at first: cola, cranberry, rose petal and nettle (and maybe even the slightest hint of pine). With aeration come cherry and cranberry aromas, tea, floral notes, black pepper and citrus (lemon/orange, more juice than zest aroma). One thing I really appreciate about this wine is the deft touch with oak. There are hints of toast and vanilla, but the oak is never obvious, much less clumsy or obtrusive.
The palate is consistent with the nose: medium bodied and smooth, with sweet fruit buoyed by bright acid, and a fairly long, slightly astringent finish with a touch of heat.
If I have any reservations at all about this wine, it would be the alcohol level. The label says 14.1%, the specs here say 14.9%; if I had to guess I’d say closer to the latter. Getting proper ripeness while maintaining alcohol balance is a common problem for many California winemakers, and IMHO the alcohol is a bit higher than ideal for this otherwise IMPECCABLY balanced Pinot. I know I’m more sensitive than most to elevated alcohol levels in wine, and I don’t think most people will notice or be bothered by it.
Forward aromas and balanced tannin make this wine eminently enjoyable right now, but it certainly has some potential for development. It should gain richness and suppleness while developing some secondary aromas. Given the alcohol and moderate tannins I wouldn’t be inclined to wait more than five years.
In summary: great Pinot Noir character, complexity and aromatic intensity without overextraction of tannin. This isn’t easy with Pinot Noir; the winemaker obviously has a good touch with Pinot.
@canneddirt Me too. I typically spend between $12 and $18 on a bottle of wine. I find when I spend more I can’t help think “It’s not that much better (or better at all) and there are other things I probably should have spent my money on.”
@Winedavid49 forget about the cheap stuff WD. When are we going to get some black tie buys? My favorite day at the old site since most stuff was built to cellar (Corison, etc) and I’ve got a 7 year backlog already. Also, wanted to say some of my favorite PNs have been from your site so ill be up in for a couple with my seattle casemates.