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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.

2019 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 2019 Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from the Highlands are aromatic, fresh, and well balanced.

2019 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir (Sold Out)



This is the inaugural vintage of Pinot Noir for ShunYi Cellars. Like the Chardonnay, it is from grapes grown in the McIntyre Vineyard, located in what many regard as the “sweet spot” in the middle of the Santa Lucia Highlands. The Highlands is remarkable for the consistency of soil throughout the region, deep loam derived partly from decomposed granite. The soil is well-drained, but it is quite deep, and the vines can be quite deep-rooted. Even though the area receives very little rainfall, many vineyards are farmed with little or no irrigation.


The winemaking at ShunYi emphasizes flavor over-extract and strives for purity of aroma and flavor. Little new oak was used during aging, and the winemaking is as natural as is practical, with no added yeast, bacteria, or adjuncts. Just grapes and a little elbow grease. 60 cases made. SOLD OUT


About The Label
Winemaker's Tasting Notes

2019 was a long cool growing season in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Pinot Noir from there can be showy, bordering on overripe, but the 2019 ShunYi is restrained. It is medium-bodied with a pretty bright red color, aromas of strawberry and sandalwood, and a hint of candied cherries, wonderfully pure Pinot Noir flavors. On the palate, it is beautifully balanced, almost seamless, with a good backbone of acidity, and moderate tannins. Like the finest Pinot Noirs, it improves with air. Decant it an hour before serving and it will really sing.