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 Dawn's Dream
April 20, 2015 | Dawn's Dream

Santa Lucia Highlands (AVA) – Setting a California Standard!

Dawn’s Dream Winery strives to showcase and highlight fruit from the finest vineyards throughout Monterey County, each with unique characteristics and features.  One of the AVA regions that Dawn’s Dream wines are sourced from is the Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH), best known for its cool climate and nutrient rich soil.  These two significant factors aid in assisting grapes such as Chardonnay, Syrah, and Pinot Noir to flourish in this region.  Dawn’s Dream current release from the SLH region are the following:

2014 Pinot Noir Rosé
2013 “Alyssa” Pinot Noir

Both varieties have bright acidity accompanied by vivid, brilliant fruit flavors as a result of the regions climate and soil.  Below is a description of how each factor has influenced the local grape distinction and why it has become such a dominant and popular region for Pinot Noir.


The majority of the Pinot Noir is planted on the slightly warmer, southern section of the Santa Lucia Highlands.  In the morning, cool fog settles into the valley and within the grape vines followed by the cool afternoon winds.  Temperatures are very mild, rarely reaching over 85 Degrees Fahrenheit.  This cooler, mild climate leads to slow ripening seasons resulting in bright, natural acidity.  This also allows vintners to pick the grapes right at their peak of ripeness.  These intense, fun flavors in the center of our "Alyssa" Pinot Noir allow it to be more food friendly.


The soil that covers the Santa Lucia Highlands has a very important effect on Pinot Noirand the other varieties that are grown here.  A large portion of the vines grown in the Santa Lucia Highlands are tucked up on what is called the "Bench Lands".  Bench Lands are mostly comprised of gravel, sand, silt and clay.  Grape varieties grown in this type of soil produce high quality grapes as it allows for easy drainage producing wines of great elegance with high aromatics and low tannins.  Outside of the bench lands there are also areas with large amounts of limestone and decomposed granite.  Quick drainage after rainfall causes the roots of the vines to drive down farther into more nutrient rich soil. 

The next time you are at the Dawn’s Dream tasting room be sure to take your time in examining the color of the wine, enjoying the aromatics of each wine, and noticing the acidic vs. tannic characteristics of each variety.  We know we might be a little biased, but the Santa Lucia Highlands (AVA) is quickly becoming one of the world’s most prominent and award winning regions for Pinot Noir and we are happy to be a part of that production.


Time Posted: Apr 20, 2015 at 4:20 PM Permalink to Santa Lucia Highlands (AVA) – Setting a California Standard! Permalink
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