Further up the coast is WALT’s Clos Pepe estate vineyard. Chris and Melissa visit with owner Stephen Pepe and learn about the characteristics that make the Sta. Rita Hills such a unique region for Pinot.
The Central Coast AVA stretches roughly 250 miles along the coastline of California, from San Francisco County in the north to Santa Barbara County in the south, averaging about 25 miles wide. The combination of sunlight exposure, cool temperatures, and exemplary soils provide for legendary Pinot Noir that is rich, round and supple. Shop for Central Coast Wines.
Located in the Central Coast appellation and the sub-appellation of Sta. Rita Hills, Clos Pepe Vineyard is one of WALT's Estate Vineyards. Winegrowers Stephen and Cathy Pepe own a truly exceptional piece of land. This amazing site combined with careful viticulture provides fruit that absolutely expresses the personality of the vineyard. With very limiting soils and a strict adherence to natural winegrowing, the Clos Pepe vineyard optimizes the complexity and nuance of Pinot Noir. There are three clones coming from different areas of the vineyard; Dijon 115 from a lower-vigor section, Pommard from gravely slopes and the 667 clone coming from slopes made up of sedimentary or seabed soils.
Rita’s Crown vineyard has an enthralling, multifaceted personality and this wine delivers its compelling narrative. Nestled high atop a hillside with chalky, sandy loam soils, the vines struggle to thrive.
The WALT Rita’s Crown Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir is a mesmerizing effort. The wine is lavishly fragrant and there is a power, grace and opulence that courses through its palate. The manifestation of the vine’s parenting soils is displayed in the mineral-rich, chalky aromas and flavors. Strikingly opulent in style, the wine boasts immeasurable layers of plum, rose petal and cherry.
The Sierra Mar vineyard is owned by Gary and Rosella Franscioni, famed pioneers of this appellation with roots going back four generations. Translated in English as “Mountain Sea,” this vineyard represents extreme mountain coastal terrior. This is an incredible high-altitude vineyard site with decomposed granite and gravelly loam soils that reflects some of the best of the Santa Lucia Highlands. The vineyard produces ripe, lush, unctuous fruit that is balanced by the site's natural acidity. Sierra Mar Vineyard is one of the region's highest and most extreme vineyard sites along 5 terraced slopes.
Named for Gary Franscioni’s wife, Rosella’s was planted in 1996 and was the first in their portfolio. Rosella’s vineyard is characterized by its maritime climate with strong coastal winds coming off of the Monterey Bay. Foggy mornings and sunny, breezy afternoons keep the site cool and ideal for Pinot Noir. We work with Pisoni, 777, 667, and 828 clones at this site which bring complexity and nuance to the finished wine.
Appellations can range from 50 miles to hundreds of miles across a variety of terrains. Within these appellations, our vineyards have an array of soil series. Even in each vineyard, there are a range of different soils. Our goal is to illustrate the main differences of our five appellations. We hope that with these illustrations you can see, and ultimately taste, the differences of our wines of a place.
Clos Pepe Vineyard Estate
The Tierra series consists of deep, moderately well drained soils that formed in alluvial materials from sedimentary rocks. Tierra soils are on dissected terraces and low hills. Fine, smectitic.
Rita’s Crown Vineyard
The Gazos series consists of moderately deep to bedrock, well drained soils that formed in material weathered from sandstone and shale. Gazos soils are on hills. Fine-loamy, mixed, super-active.
Sierra Mar Vineyard
The Chualar series consist of very deep, well drained soils that formed in alluvial material from mixed rock sources. Chualar soils are on terraces and fans of the coastal areas. Fine-loamy, mixed, super-active.