: Santa Lucia Highlands AVA

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

On the western side of the Salinas Valley, Santa Lucia Highlands’ Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah vines grow on terraces at up to 1,200 feet/365 m elevation, looming over the row crops on the valley floor. The AVA is arguably Monterey’s most celebrated, with commensurate bottle prices, its grapes prized and purchased by wineries throughout California. Paraiso Vineyards, Hahn Estates, and the McFarlands of Sleepy Hollow Vineyard are among the pioneers who realized that the moderate elevation and protection provided by the Santa Lucia coastal range mitigated the marine gusts that can turn grape leaves inside-out. The Garys, Morgan Double L, Pisoni, Rosella’s, and Tondre Grapefields vineyards have the most cachet with producers and consumers.