Wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands
Winery: First cousins, Christian Tudor and Dan Tudor started Tudor Wines in 2000, from an ancestry including generations of wine grape-growers on the island of Hvar off Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. The family began growing grapes in California early in the 1900′s and continues to farm premium table grapes in Delano to this day. Fruit is from family owned vineyards and transformed into wine using traditional techniques, including small fermentations mixed by hand and aged in French barrels. 4,000 case annual production.
Winemaking: Winemaker Dan Tudor begins by using only grapes from the finest sites. Perfect balance of tannins, flavor, alcohol, acid and fruit is the goal. Only the finest three year dried French oak barrels are used in a way that complements the wine without over-powering the elegance and finesse. Wines are de-stemmed, cold-soaked, bottled unfined and unfiltered. Single vineyard wines are selected by individual barrels, and are free-run juice.
Vineyards: Tondre Grapefield is the source of most of Tudor wines, located in the center of the SLH appellation, with the Hook Vineyard Pinot Noir from further south in the SLH. The well-drained southeastern slopes of the Santa Lucia Highlands combine with cool, moist winds from the bay to create wines with complex and subtle textures. Each row is farmed to very exact specifications in terms of water, canopy, leaf volume, fruit thinning, and shoot positioning. Individual rows are harvested at peak ripeness, not under-ripe and never over-ripe. 2.5 to 3.5 tons per acre is targeted. Picking is determined by tasting the skins of the berries, examining seed color, grape pulpy-ness, pulp separation from the seeds, the color is released into the juice when bunches are crushed, the firmness of the berries in the morning, the vine stress level, and lastly the pH, TA and Brix of the fruit.
Nacina Off-Dry Riesling, Tondré Grapefield, Santa Lucia Highlands 2016 New Vintage 12.0% alcohol
Winery Notes: “Astonishingly fresh with intense yet delicate notes of melon, honey, varietally-correct petrol and well-spiced ripe grapefruit. Enormous concentration, plush flavors of ripe apricot and pear, perfectly balanced by acidity and a long finish.” Stainless fermented at low temperature, made to be off-dry at 1.5% RS, in the halbtröcken style. This racy style of Riesling continues to develop with bottle aging. 825 cases made.
Nacina Dry Riesling, Tondré Grapefield, Santa Lucia Highlands 2014 Nearly Sold Out 13.0% alcohol 228 168
Winery Tasting Notes: “This classic Dry German styled Riesling has mineral nose, hints of ripe citrus, pear tart, apple and white plum. The vibrant finish is lush, with creamy notes leading to dried ginger accents on the finish.” Low-temperature, stainless tank-fermented. 200 cases made.
Chardonnay, Highlands Project, Santa Lucia Highlands 2015 New Vintage
Winery Notes: “Full-bodied yet elegant with loads of racy mineral, honey, ripe pear, and lemon. The fresh citrus and floral flavors combine with silky, creamy structure to provide incredible complexity.” Boekenoogen Vineyard. Made with No Oak and No Malolactic fermentation. Made in a style that showcases the varietal, unmasked by winemaking flourishes. 150 cases.
Tudor Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands 2014 HALF BOTTLES ONLY 13.8% alcohol
91 Points, Galloni: “Spice-accented red berries, Asian spices and fresh flowers on the intensely perfumed nose. Sappy, alluringly sweet raspberry and cherry cola flavors . A suave rose pastille nuance on the very long, penetrating finish, which is given shape by dusty, fine- grained tannins.” 898 cases.
Tudor Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands 2017 13.2% alcohol
“Shimmering ruby-red. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes fresh red berries, cherry, star anise and candied flowers, along with a zesty mineral top note. Shows fine definition and spicy thrust to the raspberry, bitter cherry and spice-cake flavors, which slowly deepen through the mid-palate. Combines power and delicacy with a sure hand and finishes impressively long and lively, with polished tannins and a resonating floral note.” 100% from the Tondré Grapefield. 33% New oak, 33% 1 year-old and 33% 2 year-old French barrels enhance the spice and support the fruity character. 1357 cases.
Nacina Riesling Ice Wine,“Wein der Eisbox”Tondré Grapefield ,SLH 2014 7.5% alcohol
92 Points, Vinous: “Intensely perfumed, fleshy alluringly sweet orchard and pit fruit liqueur flavors show impressive clarity for their richness.” Made with a post-harvest freezing process which perfectly simulates nature’s method, hence the Eisbox name. 406 cases of 12 – half bottles.
Nacina Gewürztraminer Ice Wine, “Wein der Eisbox” Danny’s Vyd, Monterey 2014 7.5% alcohol
90 Points, Galloni: “Aromas of apricot nectar, honey and marzipan, candied ginger. Lush, round and very sweet, offering palate-coating pit fruits and honey flavors. A decidedly rich, decadent style that lingers impressively.” Made with a post-harvest freezing process. 256 cases, 1⁄2 bottles.