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2014 Waxwing Lester Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains California
SRP: $45 Bottle / $540 Case
1-27 Cases Landed Profit Margin: 38.19%
28+ Cases Landed Profit Margin: 42.27%
FOB Profit Margin: 50.00%
Lester Family Vineyard/Santa Cruz Mountains
Lester is a classic cold-climate location, with sandy, loamy soil. The sandy soils are a result of the region's origin as a seabed; geological activity associated with the San Andreas Fault pushed up the seabed, forming successive marine terraces (this is how the Santa Cruz Mountains were formed). The vineyard's cold climate is due to heavy marine influence - it lies at about 600ft elevation, and is only 2-3 miles from the Pacific, so it gets plenty of fog during the summer. Although the fog can bring challenges in reaching full ripeness in colder years, the marine influence allows for the slow and even grape development that makes cold-climate Pinot (and Syrah!!!) so desirable. Lester is managed by Prudy Foxx. Prudy is legendary in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA, and her care and attention really show at this site.
The vineyard is nearly dry farmed, being watered at most 2-3 times during the year, and then only for 4-6 hours. This strict watering regime has remained in place throughout the recent drought, a remarkable feat not matched by many other sites. The deep (30+ ft) root systems of the vines (planted in1998) and the uniformity of the sandy, loamy soils certainly help. Although not certified organic, this site has never seen herbicides of any kind, and the winter cover crop (usually barley and bell beans) slowly turns golden as summer progresses. The quality of this site and Prudy's careful farming really came out in my first two Lester vintages. The 2012 Pinot Noir (94 pts) and 2013 Pinot Noir (94 pts) both quickly sold out.
Wine Enthusiast 92 points: Cherry tomatoes, black olives, Kalamata olives, green olives, black pepper and dried herbs show on the nose of this zesty wine, done in a lavish, not sparse manner. A rainbow of peppercorns pop on the palate, touching on the grape's herbaceous tendencies and showing tagine and tapenade flavors, but with tons of vibrancy and freshness. A well-done version of this flavor profile.
Prince of Pinot 93 points: Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Lovely aromas of red cherry, baking spice, rose petal and sandalwood lead to an elegantly composed and delicious wine offering vivid red cherry and raspberry flavors and an appealing whole cluster spiciness. The dreamy texture adds to the pleasure as does the lip-smacking, cherry-fueled finish. A seamless wine that offers loads of Pinot character. Still terrific the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 93. Reviewed November 5, 2015
Released October 2015. Vines planted in 1998 on a sandy loam hillside bordered by redwoods. Nearly dry farmed. Two-thirds clone 115 and one-third 667. Harvest Brix 24º. Crushed by foot whole cluster and fermented in open-top fermenters with indigenous yeast. Aged 11 months in once-used French oak barrels and bottled with a light filtration.