On March 15, 2009, the Ides of March, I was invited to a horizontal tasting of 2004 Pinot Noirs from Garys’
Vineyard located in the Santa Lucia Highlands. The wines were bought soon after release and well-cellared.
There were sixteen wines, one from every producer that year except Truckee River Winery.
Garys’ Vineyard is owned by partners Gary Pisoni and Gary Franscioni (that is why the vineyard is called
Garys’ and not Gary’s), and was planted in 1997 to Pisoni clone Pinot Noir and Syrah. The vineyard totals 50
acres and is located 7-8 miles north of the Pisoni Vineyard in a slightly cooler area. (see
www.garysvineyard.com for a map of the vineyards of the Santa Lucia Highlands). Spacing is 6x8 and 5x8 on
VSP Bilateral trellising with 1089 and 908 vines per acre. The soil is Arroyo Seco sandy loam. The climate is
marine with strong coastal winds blowing off Monterey Bay in the afternoon. Average summertime high
temperatures are in the mid 70s. There are currently 19 wineries sourcing fruit from Garys’ Vineyard.
Many of the wines featured aromas of black cherries, baking spices and sandalwood. The tannins were soft in
all the wines. Alcohols were quite high with eleven of the wines at 14.8% or higher and the alcohol was evident
in many of the wines. The biggest fault was a perceived lack of acidity causing the wines to age quickly. If you
have any 2004 Pinot Noirs from Garys’ Vineyard, drink up now. With a couple of exceptions, the wines did not
appreciably benefit from five years of aging.
2004 La Rochelle Garys‘ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
alc.. Winemakers Tom Stutz and Claude Bobba.
Slightly hazy with a hint of
orange coloring on the rim. Rather flat nose with some faint fruit, oak and spice.
Tasty black cherry core elegantly presented with a satiny texture and good
2004 Roar Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
Attractive aromas of rich, ripe black cherries, root beer and sandalwood. Rich
black cherry fruit core with notable oak. Still retaining some tannin. Some ash
shows up on the finish which leaves a little heat in its wake.
2004 Siduri Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
Deep garnet color. Rich and
ripe scents of black cherries and raspberries. A hedonistic style that retains plenty of sweet fruit richness and
has shed all of its tannins. Stacked and packed with fruit with admirable balance for such a big-boned wine.