2013 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains  

Aromas of cherry and pomegranate mesh with hints of rose petals, mushroom and clove in conjunction with flavors of ripe black cherry, baking spice, vanilla, toasted oak and herbs. The rounded tannins and lively acidity provide ample structure while the ultra-smooth texture and rich mouthfeel help create a seamless expression. Age 3-5 years.


A renowned source of wine grapes since the late 1800s, the Santa Cruz Mountains region is one of the first AVAs to be defined by geophysical and climatic factors. The official appellation lies mostly within Santa Cruz County, but also extends into parts of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. The east and west boundaries are defined by elevation: down to 800 feet in the east and 400 feet in the west.

In 2013, pinot noir grapes were sourced from Lester Family Vineyard, a mid-1990s planting situated along the western slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains near the town of Corralitos.

Benefiting from the classic coastal conditions of mild days and cool breezes from nearby Monterey Bay, the vineyard lies 400 feet above sea level in well-drained sandy-loam soils. Deep and fertile, these black soils are paired with Pinot Noir Clones 667 and 37 and a lyre trellis system, producing small clusters with tiny berries that boast favorable high skin-to-juice ratios. The combined effect of climate, soil, vine and treatment provides complex aromas, concentrated flavors and extraordinary elegance in the finished wines.

Growing Season

Vintage 2013 was the second consecutive year having both a drought and a bumper crop. It began with light rain in January after a wet December. Budbreak was on time in March, but a warm, dry spring prompted early bloom and berry set. The west coast was subjected to a 10-day heat wave at the start of summer with some inland wine regions surpassing 110°F, prompting accelerated grape development and early veraison. The saving grace occurred in August and late September when cooler conditions slowed sugar and flavor maturation. Our harvest ended on Halloween with wines showing great clarity on the nose and palate, and true varietal character.

Food pairing suggestions: wild mushroom ragout over grilled polenta or bacon-wrapped vennison filets with truffled mashed potatoes.

Vintage: 2013

Pinot Noir

Growers: Dan Lester

Winemaker: George Troquato

Appellation: Santa Cruz Mountains

Lester Family Vineyard, Corralitos

Harvest Date(s):
October 2, 2013

Barrel Aging: 11 mos.

Cooperage: Francois Freres 40% new

Cases Produced: 358

Consume: 3 - 5 years

Release Date:
March 7, 2015

Varietal Content:
100% Pinot Noir

pH: 3.52

Total Acidity:
0.57 mg per 100ml

Finished Alcohol: 13.9%

94 Pts Wine Enthusiast December 2015

Download Wine Info Sheet (PDF)