Rosella’s Vineyard: A Tale of Terroir?

Oh how I’d like to see more of THIS!

Charles Olken is the longtime publisher and primary reviewer for the Connoisseur’s Guide To California Wine, a well-respected newsletter that is as reliable as any wine reviewing organ in the business. Olken also writes a newspaper column and his latest takes into account a variety of different Pinot Noirs produced from a single vineyard in Monterey’s Santa Lucia Highlands appellation: Rosella’s Vineyard.

It turns out that after tasting more than 100 different Pinot Noirs, Olken found that the three highest rated wines came from Rosella’s Vineyard, produced by three different wineries. Two other wines made from the same vineyard also please him.

That’s pretty extraordinary. But what does it mean?

Clearly this vineyard is producing stellar fruit. You’ve got to assume to that the growers, Gary and Rosella Franscioni, do an outstanding job of caring for the vineyard.

It also hints at the seemingly obvious conclusion that some locations are "better" terroirs than others.

But what I’m wondering is this: Despite the fact that wine is made by a variety of different wineries from this particular vineyard, is there something in all the wines that can be traced back to the vineyard? Is there a characteristic common to the various wines made from this vineyard’s grapes that reflect a unique terroir?

Olken doesn’t address this question directly. But he does hint at some answers through the descriptions of the wines he provides.

First, he reveals that his expectations for wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands include the delivery of "richness and deep fruit". From another review he reveals that a wine, like "its cousins," provides "a full complement of deep and wonderfully well-defined varietal fruit." In a review of another wine from Rosella’s Olken is attracted to "the careful structure that marks the best examples from this vineyard."

This kind of comparison of wines from a single vineyard are the stuff that keep wine lovers thinking abut the deeper issues associated with grapegrowing and winemaking and wine drinking. They bring us back to the sometimes forgotten idea that a wine should carry with it a signature of a place.

I’d love to see the same type of reviews of wines from the Savoy Vineyard in Anderson Valley, the Rochioli Vineyard in Russian River Valley, Gary’s Vineyard in, again, the Santa Lucia Highlands, the Shea Vineyard in Oregon, and the Stagecoach Vineyard in Napa Valley…just to name a few.


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