Winery and Winemaker: Winemaker Ed Kurtzman (owner/winemaker of August West and Sandler, formerly for Roar, Foreman, Testarossa) has made this wine in San Francisco’s Dogpatch district since the first vintage of 2010. Owner John Peterson searched for years to find the right SLH properties, the Peterson and Cortada Alta vineyards, which source all the fruit for their wines. Ed says the wines “are all about the vineyard. Site is most important, trumping clone, yeast and most winemaking techniques.” Grapes are hand sorted, de-stemmed and cold-soaked, native yeast-fermented in open top bins and then barrel-aged using up to 50 % new French oak barrels. The winery name is a combination of John’s family names.
Peterson and Cortada Alta Vineyards, Santa Lucia Highlands: Located within a mile of Rosella’s and the Garys’ vineyards in the central Sweet Spot of the SLH appellation, the 9 acres of Peterson Vineyard Pinot Noir are 8 years old, and the Hyde clone Chardonnay is producing beautifully. Starting with the 2016 vintage there is also Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah from the newly planted Cortada Alta Vineyard, on a higher elevation above Peterson. Both vineyards are managed and farmed organically by Ruben Balderas (a seasoned SLH expert), with CCOF certification pending: manual weed control, soil preservation and fertilization via cover crops, pests controlled by healthy vines, pheromone traps and predatory insect releases. Watering is monitored by sensors, and intentionally limited. Quality is enhanced using multiple means, including intensive hand leaf-removal, shoot-tipping to control growth, canopy management and green-harvests at veraison. All releases Organically Farmed.
92 Points, Vinous: “Fresh pear, Meyer lemon and nectarine aromas are complemented by honeysuckle and buttered toast. Fleshy and energetic offering intense citrus and orchard fruit flavors and a candied ginger flourish. Finishes with gentle grip repeating florality and strong sappy persistence.”
Nose of stone fruits and hazelnuts is more subdued than many SLH Chardonnays. The famed Hyde clone produced only 1.6 tons per acre. 50% new Frech oak barrels. 47 cases made.
Pinot Noir 2016, Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH) 94 Points, WE
94 Points, Wine Enthusiast: “Very fragrant nose: floral notes, ripe berries and dried herbs all playing off each other in complete harmony. With the new Cortada Alta fruit in the mix, there is also a darker berry aspect to the aromas. Soft and rich on the palate, the typically tart Peterson fruit is balanced out nicely by the more opulent Cortada Alta fruit.”
First vintage using the higher elevation Cortada Alta Vineyard (13%) with the Peterson Vineyard Pinot Noir. Aged 6 months in 25% new French oak. 350 cases made.
93 Points, Vinous: “Sexy, highly perfumed aromas of fresh red fruits, candied rose and five-spice powder. Juicy and focused, offering energetic raspberry and floral pastille flavors and spicy white pepper. An exuberant style, carrying no excess fat. Smooth tannins add shape and grip to a very long, focused finish.”
From the southeast facing Peterson Vineyard along River Road in the heart of the SLH appellation, with cool ocean breezes, morning fog and midday sun, and optimal soil drainage. 214 cases.
94 Points, Wine Enthusiast: “Clove, red cherry, eucalyptus and anise show on the classic nose of this single-vineyard bottling that is both minty and fruity. The palate is light and lithe but with grippy tension and loads of acidic energy, producing flavors from cherry and cranberry to bay leaf and eucalyptus.”
93 Points, Pinot Report: “Lively, complex aromas of blueberry, plum and strawberry with forest floor and spice notes; flavors of blueberry and red fruits on a tight frame; good structure and balance; long finish. Built on a tight frame of tannin and acidity.”
Richer, fuller and more concentrated than the SLH, barrel-selected from the 2013 Peterson harvest, 13% new French Oak. 355 cases.
Pinot Noir 2016, Cortada Alta Vineyard, SLH New Premium Single Vineyard 94 Points, VN
94 Points, Vinous: “Lurid ruby-red. Fresh, spice-accented red and blue fruits, pungent flowers, incense and smoky minerals on the highly perfumed nose. Pliant, alluringly sweet black raspberry, cherry cola and floral pastille flavors stain the palate and pick up a spicy nuance as the wine stretches out. The floral note carries emphatically through a very long, seamless finish that features an exotic Asian spice quality and smooth tannins.”
Named Cortada Alta (“high notch”) for its high elevation location above the Peterson. From this higher elevation comes deeper color and longer hang time, extravagant texture and concentration and a more opulent style of wine contrasting with the more restrained Peterson. 16 months in 45% new French oak, 150 cases made.
Available trade materials for download. (POS, Shelf Talkers, Data sheets)