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Pelerin Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2011
Pelerin, meaning "pilgrim" in French, symbolizes the ongoing quest to follow their passion — producing uniquely delicious wines. The dedication entails a simple path, one in which a mix of patient observation and thoughtful action captures the exuberance and complexity of each vintage.
After graduating UC Davis, Chris Weidemann honed his craft alongside winemakers John Kongsgaard at Newton Vineyard, known for his intense, dramatic wines; and Dean DeKorth at Morgan Winery, a master at creating wines with textural balance and complexity. Along the way, Cathy and he were very fortunate to forge relationships with Gary Franscioni of Rosella's and Sierra Mar Vineyard, as well as Rich and Claudia Smith of Paraiso Vineyard, giving them access to the best Pinot Noir and Syrah sites in the area.
As a small family-run winery, Pelerin maintains a tight focus on the quality of every single barrel, ensuring each bottling provides a distinctive and rewarding experience. Using sustainably and organically grown fruit where possible, the wines are hand-harvested and sorted, gently tended, and bottled without fining or filtration. For them, the deepest satisfaction comes from knowing Pelerin Wines play a part in creating memorable moments in your life: enhancing the warmth and richness of friends and family coming together to savor a great meal, and each other's company.
Perhaps the most highly regarded appellation within Monterey County, Santa Lucia Highlands AVA benefits from a combination of warm morning sunshine and brisk afternoon breezes, allowing grapes to ripen slowly and fully. The result is concentrated, flavorful wines that retain their natural acidity. Wineries here do not shy away from innovation, and place a high priority on sustainable viticultural practices.
The climatic conditions here are perfectly suited to the production of ripe, rich Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These Burgundian varieties dominate an overwhelming percentage of plantings, though growers have also found success with Syrah, Riesling and Pinot Gris.
One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).
In the Glass
Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Villages or Cru level wines.