“Ed Kurtzman, one of the best Pinot winemakers in California” – Pinot Report
Grower-Produced wines from Santa Lucia Highlands, made in San Francisco
Winery and Winemaker: Winemaker Ed Kurtzman (owner/winemaker of August West and Sandler, formerly winemaker for Roar, Freeman, Testarossa) has made this wine in San Francisco’s Produce District since the first vintage of 2010. Owner John Peterson has developed two contrasting vineyard in the SLH, source of all their fruit. 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 30 – 70 % new French oak barrels with no battonage, for gentle styling.
Peterson and Cortada Alta Vineyards, Santa Luca Highlands: Within a mile of Rosella’s and the Garys’ vineyards in the central Sweet Spot of the SLH appellation, the low-lying 9 acre Peterson Vineyard is in a cool fog pocket with typically red-fruited Pinot Noirs of restraint and elegance, and sophisticated expressions of Hyde clone Chardonnay, all wines bright with acidity and minerality from the cool site. By contrast, the Cortada Alta Vineyard at 1650 feet in elevation is the highest in the SLH, and produces deep, dark and concentrated wines. Being above the fog, the wines are fuller, reflecting the tiny berries and smaller mountain-grown clusters. Both vineyards are managed and farmed organically by Ruben Balderas (a seasoned SLH expert), with CCOF certification pending: certified organic compost, manual weed control, soil preservation and cover crop-fertilization, pests controlled by healthy vines, pheromone traps and predatory insect releases. Watering is monitored by sensors, and intentionally limited. All releases Organically Farmed.
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.
Chardonnay 2019, Santa Lucia Highlands Organically Farmed
NEW – March Release!
Winemaker Notes: “Pineapple, orange blossom, lemon chiffon, melon rind, vanilla bean and baking spice round the nose. Viscous, lush texture, tropical flavors of Honeydew, guava, peach and coconut finish with soft pepper, cream, French oak and abundant acidity.” Blended from 58% low-yielding, high-elevation, concentrated Cortada Alta fruit with 42% foggy, cold-climate, zesty and citrusy Peterson fruit from the famed Hyde clone. Barrel fermented in 42% new oak with complete malo-lactic, aged 16 months. Unfined. 264 cases.
Chardonnay 2018, Cortada Alta, SLH Organically Farmed
93 Points, Josh Raynolds: “Light, bright gold. Mineral-accented citrus and orchard fruit scents, buttered toast and fennel nuances. Juicy and focused with Meyer lemon, pear, pineapple and honeysuckle flavors and a spine of nervy minerality. Smoothly blends depth and finesse and finishes very long and precise, with lingering pear and floral notes.” The famed Hyde clone produced under 2 tons/acre. Night- harvested, whole-cluster pressed and barrel-fermented in 50% new French oak. Unfined and Unfiltered. 140 cases.
Chardonnay 2018, Peterson Vineyard, SLH Organically Farmed
93 Points, Vinous: “Limpid yellow-gold. Vibrant, mineral-accented citrus and orchard fruit aromas; jasmine, marzipan and chamomile. Juicy and tightly focused on the palate, offering vivid Meyer lemon, pear and white peach flavors. Shows fine definition and spicy cut on the impressively long, focused finish.” More subdued than more flamboyant SLH Chardonnays, the famed Hyde clone produced under 2 tons per acre. Night-harvested, whole-cluster pressed and barrel-fermented in 50% new French oak. Unfined and Unfiltered. 48 cases made.
Pinot Noir 2018, Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH) Organically Farmed
92 Points, Vinous: “Brilliant ruby-red. Red and blue fruit, pungent flowers and black cardamom on the expressive nose. Densely packed and chewy on the palate, offering bitter cherry and black raspberry flavors that loosen up and turn sweeter with air. Quite powerful for an entry-level bottling, finishing long and smooth, with harmonious tannins and a lingering berry note.” 86% dark Cortada Alta gives the dark- fruit intensity, countered by the bright, red-fruited Peterson 14%. 80% Free Run juice, 43% new French oak. 336 cases.
Pinot Noir 2017, Peterson Vineyard, SLH Organically Farmed
93 Points, Vinous: “Highly perfumed, complex red berry liqueur, cherry and incense aromas, with Asian spice and smoky mineral accents. Sharp delineation and spicy lift on the palate, offering concentrated raspberry, cherry cola and spice-cake flavors that pick up a strong rose pastille nuance with air. Finishes extremely long and juicy, with fine-grained tannins, lingering red fruit and exotic spice notes.” In spite of the perfumed, spicy character, this wine was made wine zero stems. Reflects the cool-climate character of the site. 200 cases.
Pinot Noir 2013, Peterson Vineyard, SLH Library Organically Farmed
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.” 355 cases.
Pinot Noir 2017, Cortada Alta Vineyard, SLH Organically Farmed
92 Points, Vinous: “Red berry, cherry and lavender aromas show very good clarity. Broad and chewy offering sweet black raspberry, cherry and spice-cake flavors that become more lively on the back half. A persistent, dark-berry-driven finish is framed by velvety, well-knit tannins.” From this highest elevation (1250-1650 feet) vineyard in the SLH comes deeper color and longer hang time, extravagant texture, concentration and an opulent style. Testarossa and August West wineries also buy Cortada Alta fruit. 64% new French oak. 300 cases.