We were first drawn to the Central Coast’s Santa Lucia Highlands 30 years ago, as we searched for the best conditions to make Chardonnay. The rugged beauty of the region is framed by its dramatic weather, with morning fog giving way to bright sun, cooling breezes and afternoon gusts of wind. Summer temperatures are cooler than in most other winegrowing regions in California, leading to an extended – and remarkably consistent – growing season. These conditions are perfectly suited not just to Chardonnay, but to Pinot Noir, an early-ripening variety that thrives in a more moderate environment.
Grapes for our Pinot Noir come from vineyards in the southern and middle sections of the Santa Lucia Highlands, whose diversity enables us to create a more layered wine. Because grapes ripen slowly, we can make wine of heightened complexity. Mer Soleil is named after the two forces of nature – the sea and sun – that shape this singular character, and they are as powerful in creating our Pinot.
Our goal was to create a wine that tastes fresh and young. We push grapes to full ripeness, and barrel aging takes place for only nine months in mostly new French oak to create integrated toasty notes and a balanced oak character. Just like the dramatic growing conditions of the Santa Lucia Highlands, this wine has its own drama and complexity, revealing multiple dimensions with every sip.