Santa Lucia Highlands is known for cool-climate
varietals like Pinot and Chardonnay, so even though there are damn
few Pinot Gris vineyards there, it's no surprise that the variety
does well in the East-facing vineyards on the valley side of the
mountains.The Franscioni Vineyard (in the most northern and coolest
part the AVA), has one of the few very Pinot Gris vineyards.
The mountainside vineyard’s gravelly, porous
soils along with the Region I type climate make for ideal
conditions for classic Pinot Gris.
2014 brought this AVA warm temperatures and a
long growing season, leading to ripe fruit without high sugars -
ideal for classic wines like this. Like many others in the are,
Franscioni saw moderate yields but very high quality in
2014. The unusually warm September helped finish ripening.
Hand-harvested fruit was quickly brought to the
winery and whole-cluster pressed directly into stainless
steel tanks, then chilled and allowed settle for 48 hours.
Fermentation was conducted in a combination of stainless steel and
neutral oak barrels - the latter to add some oxidative softness.
Afterwards, the young wine was held on the lees and stirred
regularly to add softness, complexity and texture.
Look for aromas of mandarin orange, stone fruits
and golden apple. On the palate, the texture from the lees
stirring and barrel aging is rich in the mid-palate and
stulistically similar to the white wines of Alsace than typical
North American or Italian Pinot Grigio. Apple, pear and citru notes
are nicely balanced by the bright acidity that keeps the wine clean
and fresh on the finish, making the embiber want to come back for
another refreshing sip after another, then "whoops!", the bottle's
is currently empty