Poppy Pinot Noir 2021, Arroyo Seco, Monterey, California

The Arroyo Seco appellation, which literally means “dry riverbed,” begins in a steep, narrow gorge at the foot of the Santa Lucia mountain range in Monterey County. Moving east, the topography widens and eventually opens up to the warm, fertile soil of the Salinas Valley. Deep in the canyon, vineyards are shielded from characteristic afternoon winds and thus experience warmer temperatures. As the canyon opens to the valley floor, the afternoon Pacific Ocean breeze cools the grapes, tempering their growth and intensifying the fruit flavors. Fermentation takes place at moderate temperatures with a few pump overs per day. Grapes are pressed gently, with some of the wine going straight to French oak barrels, and the balance going to tank for settling. The tank and barrel lots are rotated mid season. The mild spring and cooler summer in Monterey County give a chance of the Pinot Noir grapes to achieve the optimum maturity with great balance of acidity and flavor, and with deep color that is characteristic of Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir. The red fruit brightens across the palate, picking up raspberry and spice are balanced by the French toasted oak aromas. Soft and silky through the middle, this wine crescendo on the finish leaves a juicy memory in the mouth, with proper acidity and a pleasant mouth-feel.