The SOMM Journal

August / September 2015

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70 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015 { sneak preview } WHAT MAKES SANTA LUCIA HIGHLANDS SO SPECIAL? story and photos by Randy Caparoso a s American Viticultural Areas go, Santa Lucia Highlands is a superstar. Officially recognized in 1990, it is a Monterey AVA sub-region that produces virtually no "ordinary" wine. When you see Santa Lucia Highlands on a label you expect second-to-none quality, and you always get it. What makes Santa Lucia Highlands wines so consistently great? Thirty sommeliers will converge on the region to study this question on July 13–15, 2015, as part of The SOMM Journal's ongoing series of educational SOMM Camps. We will, of course, be filing a detailed report on this three-day experience, underwritten by the Santa Lucia Highlands Wine Artisans. Meanwhile, we recently took a preliminary trip out to this relatively small AVA—a narrow strip about a mile wide and 12 miles long, sitting on sloping benchland on the west side of Salinas Valley, with about 6,000 acres of planted grapes on 300 to 1,400-foot elevations—to talk to a few of the grower/winemakers who helped pioneer the region's modern era during the 1970s and 1980s. Two Garys We started out our visit with a vineyard walk and tasting with two of the most iconic grower/producers in the appellation—Gary Franscioni and Gary Pisoni—along with the latter's son Mark Pisoni, who manages Pisoni Vineyard as well as the two Garys' joint venture plantings, Garys' Vineyard and Soberanes Vineyard. It's often said that terroir pertains to not only climate and topog- raphy, but also to human input. In 1996 Franscioni and Pisoni chipped Pride of Double L Vineyard is owned by Daniel Morgan Lee of Morgan Winery. PLACE

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