Siduri Garys’ Vineyard Pinot Noir: Maybe the Best of 2009


Dianna Lee

I’ve tasted some great wines from the 2009 vintage, and I’ve even tasted some great Siduri’s from this vintage (check out my review of Siduri Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2009). But when the winemaker himself says this may be the best there is, you better go find yourself a bottle…

Well, Adam Lee didn’t say the Siduri Garys’ Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009 was categorically the best, but it “is one of the highlights of our 2009 Pinot Noir line-up.”

That’s saying a lot.

Let’s start with some background: Siduri Wines is the work of Adam and Dianna Lee, who came to Northern California from Texas to make Pinot Noir. Rather than own land and vineyards, they work with growers in 20 different vineyards from Santa Barbara to the Willamette Valley. Many of these are considered the country’s most prestigious Pinot Vineyards, and Adam and Dianna work to showcase the qualities and characteristics of each one.


Two Garys and three vineyards

Garys’ Vineyard has earned to right to be included in the top ranks of California Pinot sites. It sits on benchland in Monterey County’s Santa Lucia Highlands, where cool marine breezes sweep in from Monterey Bay. As the Garys say, “the cooling fog, afternoon winds and good sun exposure lengthen the growing season, allowing the grapes to hang on the vines longer, developing complex flavors while keeping their attractive, crisp acidity. This terroir makes the Santa Lucia Highlands perfect for growing premium Pinot Noir.”

There really are two Garys? This vineyard is a partnership of two guys with the same name, buddies since high school and now proprietors of not only their namesake vineyard but two other sites in the Santa Lucia Highlands that produce kick-ass Pinot grapes: Pisoni and Rosella’s vineyards. I’ve tasted wines from all three vineyards over the years, and now it makes sense to me: their grapes all show trademark intensity, depth and balance.

So getting back to Siduri… They make vineyard designated Pinots from all three of the “Gary” vineyards. The one I found recently (at a very wine-friendly restaurant called Red Fish in Hilton Head, South Carolina) was the recently released Garys’ Vineyard. We opened it with lots of anticipation, because we haven’t met a Siduri we didn’t like. I should add that we were also drinking a 2007 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir — never a slouch either (I know, we’re just Pinot gluttons…).

The Siduri poured out opaque garnet/purple, showing the typical Siduri extraction and lack of filtering. The nose didn’t give up much at first, but I knew this wine was just a baby. The palate started off tight and closed, showing its tannin and structure but not its fruit.

Not to worry — we just set it aside until it was comfortable enough to join the party. And join it did. It took about 30 minutes and some aggressive swirling, but all of a sudden I tasted…FRUIT, and lots of it. The sweet black cherry and blackberry mingled with herbal and earthy notes, all wrapped up with a rich, velvety mouthfeel. That texture, combined with the intensity and elegance of the fruit, made this wine a pleasure. There were youthful tannins on the finish, and a great hit of acid to balance the fruit, so I know I wasn’t tasting all that this wine will offer. I’d like to try it again in a year, and then every year after for about five years. I think it will keep evolving and releasing more complex aromas and favors.

Way to go, Garys and Siduri. Thanks for creating another knock-out bottle of wine. Cheers!

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