Lucia Vineyards (Pisoni)

Garys' Vineyard Pinot Noir

9.1126 ratings
9.129 pro ratings
Santa Lucia Highlands, Central Coast, California, USA
Pinot Noir
Top Notes For
Jonathan Udkow

Import & Logistics, CA Sales Manager Pacific Prime WIne

9.1

Smoked meat and mushroom. Light black fruit and spices. Bright red fruit on the palate. Great acid, super light tannins with a meaty and fruity finish

Smoked meat and mushroom. Light black fruit and spices. Bright red fruit on the palate. Great acid, super light tannins with a meaty and fruity finish

Jun 22nd, 2018
David T

Independent Sommelier/Wine Educator

9.3

A wine I’ve enjoyed mostly upon release or near it. I vowed to wait six years and nearly made it. At least it is 2018...just! It’s worth waiting this/that long for it to develop. On the nose; sweetly, baked fruits of; dark cherries, strawberries, black plum, plums, blackberries, and notes of blue fruits. Cinnamon, vanilla, very light clove & nutmeg, caramel, soft, medium, beautiful spice, black fruit tea, limestone minerals, loamy, dry, brown top soil, fresh dark florals and violets. The mouthfeel is full, rich & lush. The tannins are round, still have some teeth and possess velvety round edges. It’s fruit driven but not a bomb and showing elegance & grace. Fruits are perfectly ripe; dark cherries, strawberries, black plum, plums, blackberries, notes of blue fruits and dry cranberries dip in and out. Cinnamon, vanilla, very light clove & nutmeg, caramel, soft, medium beautiful spice that is more pronounced on the palate, black fruit tea, touch of melted brown sugar/molasses, limestone minerals, touch of rich dark sweet turned soil, loamy dry brown top soil, soft understated eucalyptus/mint, dry fresh florals and violets. The round acidity is just right, just a slight very small alcohol burn, the length, structure, tension and beautifully balanced finish are in a very good place. Even better in 2-3 more years in bottle; which is when I’ll have my next one. Photos of; the winemaking duo of Gary Franscioni (left) and Gary Pisoni, Rosella’s Vineyard on the right. As well as, Garys’ Vineyard at the bottom. Producer notes and history...The Santa Lucia Highlands appellation is known for its rich, vibrant Pinot Noirs. However, that wasn’t always the case. The first Pinot was planted in 1973, but results weren’t all that great. Chardonnay was the appellation’s early star. Much of the area’s current fame for Pinot Noir arguably can be traced to Gary Pisoni, a free-spirited wine enthusiast who grew up in a Salinas Valley vegetable farming family. Pisoni decided to plant a few acres of Pinot Noir in 1982 on his family’s horse ranch, at the southern end of what was to become the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation but his horses started eating the grapes. So, they had to go. His initial planting were limited by a lack of water until he dug a well on the property. Pisoni started planting even more Pinot Noir. The vineyard is now around 45 acres and nearly all of it Pinot. By the late 1990s, word had spread about the success of his vineyard, and a number of Pinot specialists from around California had started lining up to buy his grapes. He started producing his own wine in 1998. Pisoni isn’t the only Gary who has become a force in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Gary Franscioni, a childhood friend, followed Pisoni’s lead by planting grapes and started Roar Wines in 2001. The two of them now have five vineyards between them...all farmed meticulously with the same crew. They are best of friends...sort of a Mutt & Jeff. They have become a formidable presence in the Highlands, attracting interest from top winemakers and Pinot Noir lovers from all over. Franscioni is also from a vegetable farming family; Pisoni figures they’ve known each other since they were 3 or 4. Franscioni saw his friend’s success and once he got some money together, decided to plant grapes of his own. Franscioni’s property is farther north and cooler as it’s closer to the Monterey Bay. He was going to plant Chardonnay. He woke up and Franscioni recalls imitating Pisoni, and shouted, “plant Pinot!” Franscioni planted what became Rosella’s Vineyard, named for his wife, in 1996. He took Pisoni’s advice and planted four acres of Pinot Noir, although he still planted 12 acres of Chardonnay. It’s now a total of around 50 acres with three-quarters of it Pinot Noir. The next year, they decided to become partners and planted Garys’ Vineyard, a 50 acre parcel where they grow Pinot and a little Syrah. Since then, Franscioni has developed Sierra Mar, 38 acres of Pinot, Chardonnay, Syrah and a tiny amount of Viognier. The two teamed up again to establish Soberanes Vineyard, 35 acres of mostly Pinot Noir, with a little bit of Chardonnay and Syrah. That last vineyard was developed by Pisoni’s son Mark. The Garys might seem an unlikely pair. Pisoni is colorful character to say the least and has an outspoken manner. Franscioni comes across as more serious- minded. However, the collaboration between the two, who often address each other as “partner,” clearly works well. The two are good on their own, but better together. Pisoni being more gregarious acts as the frontman. He is the Ambassador. He’s a check on the rest to keep the quality high. Franscioni and Mark Pisoni run the farming on their own vineyards and work together on the joint ventures. The family involvement doesn’t stop there. Jeff Pisoni makes his family’s wines, which are under the Pisoni and Lucia brands. Franscioni’s son, Adam, joined the family business in time for the 2011 harvest. He handles sales for Roar and helps his father manage the vineyards. The grapes from all five vineyards are in huge demand, because the two families are such careful farmers, constantly tweaking and improving. Prominent customers include; Testarossa, Siduri, Kosta Browne, Copain and Bernardus. When a new vintner approaches them about buying grapes, the partners examine the winery’s track record and the Winemaker. If they like what they see, the winery is put on a waiting list. There’s not very much movement in their vineyards. When Franscioni planted Sierra Mar, he and Pisoni had 62 wineries waiting to buy fruit. Soberanes was developed with the idea of working with some new winemakers. There was some concern, even among the two families, that quality might suffer as the vineyard operations grew. However, there’s no indication that’s the case. In fact, with each new venture, they build on what they’ve learned in their older vineyards. Eventually, there will be even more vineyards. The Pisonis and Franscionis have purchased a 100 acre cactus farm in the Santa Lucia Highlands. There’s still a lease on the property. So, prickly pear cactus will continue to be grown for five more years. But at some point, the land will be planted with vines. Both families understand the importance of continuing to build for the future. The Garys looking back tell a story of being in the same spot some years ago and looking at a field of broccoli out back. He told Franscioni that the field would look a lot better with Pinot Noir vines. Now that parcel is part of Rosella’s Vineyard, and it’s planted with Pinot. Everybody thought he was crazy...most people usually think that when someone makes a bold decision. He’s a person who has always had vision and creativeness. He also has tremendous passion. Good things only happen when a person possesses all three of these qualities. Their wines are primarily available by mailing list. However, Nepenthe in Big Sur, CA acts as a quasi tasting room for some of their wines.

A wine I’ve enjoyed mostly upon release or near it. I vowed to wait six years and nearly made it. At least it is 2018...just! It’s worth waiting this/that long for it to develop. On the nose; sweetly, baked fruits of; dark cherries, strawberries, black plum, plums, blackberries, and notes of blue fruits. Cinnamon, vanilla, very light clove & nutmeg, caramel, soft, medium, beautiful spice, black fruit tea, limestone minerals, loamy, dry, brown top soil, fresh dark florals and violets. The mouthfeel is full, rich & lush. The tannins are round, still have some teeth and possess velvety round edges. It’s fruit driven but not a bomb and showing elegance & grace. Fruits are perfectly ripe; dark cherries, strawberries, black plum, plums, blackberries, notes of blue fruits and dry cranberries dip in and out. Cinnamon, vanilla, very light clove & nutmeg, caramel, soft, medium beautiful spice that is more pronounced on the palate, black fruit tea, touch of melted brown sugar/molasses, limestone minerals, touch of rich dark sweet turned soil, loamy dry brown top soil, soft understated eucalyptus/mint, dry fresh florals and violets. The round acidity is just right, just a slight very small alcohol burn, the length, structure, tension and beautifully balanced finish are in a very good place. Even better in 2-3 more years in bottle; which is when I’ll have my next one. Photos of; the winemaking duo of Gary Franscioni (left) and Gary Pisoni, Rosella’s Vineyard on the right. As well as, Garys’ Vineyard at the bottom. Producer notes and history...The Santa Lucia Highlands appellation is known for its rich, vibrant Pinot Noirs. However, that wasn’t always the case. The first Pinot was planted in 1973, but results weren’t all that great. Chardonnay was the appellation’s early star. Much of the area’s current fame for Pinot Noir arguably can be traced to Gary Pisoni, a free-spirited wine enthusiast who grew up in a Salinas Valley vegetable farming family. Pisoni decided to plant a few acres of Pinot Noir in 1982 on his family’s horse ranch, at the southern end of what was to become the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation but his horses started eating the grapes. So, they had to go. His initial planting were limited by a lack of water until he dug a well on the property. Pisoni started planting even more Pinot Noir. The vineyard is now around 45 acres and nearly all of it Pinot. By the late 1990s, word had spread about the success of his vineyard, and a number of Pinot specialists from around California had started lining up to buy his grapes. He started producing his own wine in 1998. Pisoni isn’t the only Gary who has become a force in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Gary Franscioni, a childhood friend, followed Pisoni’s lead by planting grapes and started Roar Wines in 2001. The two of them now have five vineyards between them...all farmed meticulously with the same crew. They are best of friends...sort of a Mutt & Jeff. They have become a formidable presence in the Highlands, attracting interest from top winemakers and Pinot Noir lovers from all over. Franscioni is also from a vegetable farming family; Pisoni figures they’ve known each other since they were 3 or 4. Franscioni saw his friend’s success and once he got some money together, decided to plant grapes of his own. Franscioni’s property is farther north and cooler as it’s closer to the Monterey Bay. He was going to plant Chardonnay. He woke up and Franscioni recalls imitating Pisoni, and shouted, “plant Pinot!” Franscioni planted what became Rosella’s Vineyard, named for his wife, in 1996. He took Pisoni’s advice and planted four acres of Pinot Noir, although he still planted 12 acres of Chardonnay. It’s now a total of around 50 acres with three-quarters of it Pinot Noir. The next year, they decided to become partners and planted Garys’ Vineyard, a 50 acre parcel where they grow Pinot and a little Syrah. Since then, Franscioni has developed Sierra Mar, 38 acres of Pinot, Chardonnay, Syrah and a tiny amount of Viognier. The two teamed up again to establish Soberanes Vineyard, 35 acres of mostly Pinot Noir, with a little bit of Chardonnay and Syrah. That last vineyard was developed by Pisoni’s son Mark. The Garys might seem an unlikely pair. Pisoni is colorful character to say the least and has an outspoken manner. Franscioni comes across as more serious- minded. However, the collaboration between the two, who often address each other as “partner,” clearly works well. The two are good on their own, but better together. Pisoni being more gregarious acts as the frontman. He is the Ambassador. He’s a check on the rest to keep the quality high. Franscioni and Mark Pisoni run the farming on their own vineyards and work together on the joint ventures. The family involvement doesn’t stop there. Jeff Pisoni makes his family’s wines, which are under the Pisoni and Lucia brands. Franscioni’s son, Adam, joined the family business in time for the 2011 harvest. He handles sales for Roar and helps his father manage the vineyards. The grapes from all five vineyards are in huge demand, because the two families are such careful farmers, constantly tweaking and improving. Prominent customers include; Testarossa, Siduri, Kosta Browne, Copain and Bernardus. When a new vintner approaches them about buying grapes, the partners examine the winery’s track record and the Winemaker. If they like what they see, the winery is put on a waiting list. There’s not very much movement in their vineyards. When Franscioni planted Sierra Mar, he and Pisoni had 62 wineries waiting to buy fruit. Soberanes was developed with the idea of working with some new winemakers. There was some concern, even among the two families, that quality might suffer as the vineyard operations grew. However, there’s no indication that’s the case. In fact, with each new venture, they build on what they’ve learned in their older vineyards. Eventually, there will be even more vineyards. The Pisonis and Franscionis have purchased a 100 acre cactus farm in the Santa Lucia Highlands. There’s still a lease on the property. So, prickly pear cactus will continue to be grown for five more years. But at some point, the land will be planted with vines. Both families understand the importance of continuing to build for the future. The Garys looking back tell a story of being in the same spot some years ago and looking at a field of broccoli out back. He told Franscioni that the field would look a lot better with Pinot Noir vines. Now that parcel is part of Rosella’s Vineyard, and it’s planted with Pinot. Everybody thought he was crazy...most people usually think that when someone makes a bold decision. He’s a person who has always had vision and creativeness. He also has tremendous passion. Good things only happen when a person possesses all three of these qualities. Their wines are primarily available by mailing list. However, Nepenthe in Big Sur, CA acts as a quasi tasting room for some of their wines.

Jan 6th, 2018
Bibiana Gonzalez Rave

Biased maybe (made by my husband) but since I get to taste it before release I can say: love it! after two weeks of being open, this wine still carry amazing fruit and velvety texture.

Biased maybe (made by my husband) but since I get to taste it before release I can say: love it! after two weeks of being open, this wine still carry amazing fruit and velvety texture.

1 person found it helpfulMay 24th, 2015
Colin Yates

Wine Buyer Macadoodles Fine Wine & Spirits

9.4

Raise your hand if you buy a Pinot when you see the words Garys' Vineyard. Mine is in the air! Especially when it accompanies the word Roar or Lucia. Of course Pisoni and Franscioni are going to keep the best fruit for themselves. The 2011 is superb. Fresh and lively nose full of red cherries and violets. Light to medium bodied with crushed red berries and lingering finish.

Raise your hand if you buy a Pinot when you see the words Garys' Vineyard. Mine is in the air! Especially when it accompanies the word Roar or Lucia. Of course Pisoni and Franscioni are going to keep the best fruit for themselves. The 2011 is superb. Fresh and lively nose full of red cherries and violets. Light to medium bodied with crushed red berries and lingering finish.

1 person found it helpfulMay 10th, 2015
Lee Lightfoot

Even better than when I had it out of jerobaum a year ago. Worst vintage of the century did not affect the Pisonis. The tannins have resolved and this is showing beautifully.

Even better than when I had it out of jerobaum a year ago. Worst vintage of the century did not affect the Pisonis. The tannins have resolved and this is showing beautifully.

Feb 16th, 2016
Will Chesebro

Assistant winegrower Chesebro Wines

9.0

Oh yes.

Oh yes.

Jun 22nd, 2015
Fernando Fernandez

Aging well on a Magnum format ..

Aging well on a Magnum format ..

May 24th, 2015
Ben Palos

Love me some Gary Pisoni

Love me some Gary Pisoni

Nov 26th, 2014
John Sweeney

Thanks Mark Pisoni! This is drinking quite well.

Thanks Mark Pisoni! This is drinking quite well.

Oct 16th, 2014
Carole Meredith

Very tasty. And complete. This is how I like my Pinot.

Very tasty. And complete. This is how I like my Pinot.

Aug 6th, 2014