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Brix = the amount of sweetness in a given solution measured in degrees expressing the porportion of sugar to each 100 gr. of total fluid; Used in winemaking by growers to measure the amount of sugar in the grapes.

Chicks = We're girls of a certain age with a sense of adventure, a passion for wine, a vibrant curiousity to learn more and a drive to exchange ideas, share tips and find out what you have to say about how wine flavors your experience.

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29 May, 2014

Soil and Sun.WIne and fun - My Visit to the Santa Lucia Highlands

Photo Wagner Family Wines
The Santa Lucia Highlands is a wonderful AVA or American Viticultural Area located within Monterey County, which is about two hours, depending on traffic, by car south of San Francisco.  Monterey itself is an AVA, but the SLH climate, soil and geography are unique enough and qualify it for AVA status on its own.  You can taste the specialness of place in the offerings of its producers.  Poor soils that cause the grapes to struggle, which,  along with the cool maritime influences from beyond the hills to the West, end up making delicious wines.  

The region plants predominately Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but also grows many other varieties including Riesling, Syrah, Pinot Gris and even Souzao, which Paraiso puts in a Port wine.


Photo Wagner Family Wines I wonder if those cement eggs are filled with delicious Mer Soleil Silver?
Wine Cougar drained the 2010 first
Santa Lucia Highlands is home to dedicated vintners and growers, some of whom are the one and thesame  like panel member Steve McIntyre, he, of the intersting and eponymous Tasting Studio ---wine, spa and shopping: any questions?.  Steve  edu-tained us at the pre-Gala seminar on interesting history of the region and his career path. Fellow panel member  Bill Brosseau of Testarossa Winery, entranced us with his "Grape Whisperer" tales. Bill walks the rows and lives with the fruit to better understand how to coax it into the best wine it can be.  His perspective on Pinot Noir, which derives its tannins from its pips and so must be grown from the inside out, as opposed to Cabernet Sauvignon which is grown from the outside in, since its skins drive it, was as interesting as it was delicious.  We came away laughing and ready to try all the wines.  



Charles Hendricks



Here are some of my favorites:

Hope and Grace:  BrixChicks has been fans of this producer since we first tried the wines years ago.  Then, we were hookedby Sleepy Hollow Vineyard designates, but now Charles Hendricks  uses fruit from the Doctor's Vineyard.  This wine has swaths of red fruit as well as a complex and interesting structure.  They also have a divine Malbec form Napa fruit which is closer to the Yountville tasting room


Hahn Family Wines, SLH, Lucienne  Hahn Family Wines are investing in their SLH winery and making it into a destination.  Culinary tours of their vineyards as well as ATV tours so you can be a daredevil in their vineyards no matter what your fitness level, are waiting for you to explore.  Lucienne draws it name from intersection of Nicky Hahn's middle name as well as a riff on the region's  name itself.  Three vineyards Smith, Doctors and Lone Oak ,are candidates to become Lucinenne.  I have a soft spot in my heart for Smith because its delicious and because I have a vine in the Blogger's block which is in the Smith Vineyard.  Dark, delicious and SLH Pinot Noir.

Hawks View:  I was familiar with this Oregon producer and their tasty Pinot Gris.  So it was fun to meet the team in person and also to taste the Pinot Noirs from SLH these Oregon folks make.  Lovely typicity of the region, with perfumey aromas and complex flavors.  

Mer Soleil: One of my go to wines for gifting, drinking, and ordering in restaurants is the Mer
Photo Wagner Family Wines
Soleil Silver, which comes in a cool (literally ) ceramic bottle.  Completely unoaked, it delivers the crisp morning breezes directly to your palate on float of golden fresh flavor. We also got to try some of the other offerings.  It was nice to see ground zero for wine production.  


Overheard at the Panel discussion when asked about the Ageability of their wines:


Wine: What are you waiting for?  

...to which I concur and am off to crack open some SLH wine right now!

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