2018 August West Pinot Noir 'Cortada Alta'
Santa Lucia Highlands, California
100% Pinot Noir. Planted with wide row spacing on gently sloping east facing benches, with great sun exposure, allowing fog to burn off early in the day. This union of climate, sandy loam soils and the Pommard clone produces small crops that translates to complex wines. Aged 11 months in 25% new French Oak. 370 cases produced.
John Peterson’s younger vineyard is called Cortada Alta, which translates from Spanish to English as high notch (1650 feet elevation) and connotes the vineyard’s location just below the notch in the SLH appellation map. It is the highest vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands, and August West’s first vintage is the 2016 Pinot Noir. John, with vineyard manager Ruben Balderas, planted several heritage and Dijon clones of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah and Viognier at this spectacular site beginning in 2014. It is divided into 17 blocks with multiple sub parcels on various exposures and soil types. The flavors that come from this sun-drenched site, mostly above the fog are going to be on the fruit forward side of the Santa Lucias. Windy Oaks, Wrath, Mansfield Dunne and Sandler also buy Cortada Alta Fruit.
93 points, Antonio Galloni's Vinous Media. "Shimmering magenta. Powerful, smoke- and spice-accented black raspberry, cherry and candied rose scents are complicated by subtle cola and five-spice powder notes. Appealingly sweet and expansive in the mouth, offering juicy red and dark berry, cherry cola and spicecake flavors that turn more lively through the midpalate. Rounded, well-knit tannins add shape to an impressively persistent finish that leaves behind red berry liqueur and baking spice notes."