The Santa Lucia Highlands are typically one of the most forgiving of growing regions in the state of California. The proximity to Monterey Bay means that it seldom gets hot, or too cold. It is in the rain shadow of the Lucia mountains, so it surprisingly dry, usually receiving less than 12 inches of rain, all of it during the winter, but the frequent fog means that the vines typically don’t suffer much water stress.
2020 was a mild growing season in most of California, with a fairly wet spring. The growing season got off to a somewhat late start, but by August it had caught up a bit and harvest started in mid-September, which is typical for the Santa Lucia Highlands. In most of California, the crop was on the larger side, but at McIntyre Vineyard, source of the ShunYi Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, yields were down, particularly in the Pinot Noir. Because of the mild growing season, acidity remained high and flavors were fresh and pure, while alcohols, which tend to be high in the Highlands, were moderate. The 2020 Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from the Highlands are aromatic, fresh, and well balanced.