Paraiso Vineyards2003 Pinot Noir
(Santa Lucia Highlands)
Rich Smith is one of the pioneers of the Santa Lucia Highlands. In 1973, he planted one of the first vineyards in the area, which didn’t become an AVA until 1992. Back then, the banks were encouraging people to plant Cabernet Sauvignon because that’s what was selling – never mind that much of Monterey is too cool to ripen Cabernet properly.
Luckily, Smith got better advice – he planted Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir on the 400-acre estate toward the southern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands bench. (More recently, he’s added Syrah to the lineup.) Still, it’s only been recently that Paraiso’s Pinots have been on a par with those of its neighbors. Farming practices were improved, and the oak regime was upgraded. The result: The wines have come a long way, as this lovely 2003 Pinot demonstrates. It’s very well-balanced, with bright flavors of perfectly ripe raspberry and strawberry, some spicy clove notes, and a velvety, supple texture. And, at just $25, it’s a bargain compared with many Santa Lucia Highlands Pinots.
Reviewed October 19, 2006 by Laurie Daniel.
Other reviewed wines from Paraiso Vineyards
2005 Pinot Noir, West Terrace
(Santa Lucia Highlands)Laurie Daniel 11/15/2007
Laurie Daniel, wine columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, has been reviewing wine for more than 10 years. She doesn’t use numbers, preferring to describe her recommended wines and let consumers decide for themselves. Laurie believes that bigger isn’t necessarily better; she’s partial to wines of balance, finesse and character. Her particular interests are Pinot Noir (versions that really taste like Pinot, that is) and aromatic whites like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Gewürztraminer.