A Burgundy Master in Santa Lucia
From $1,000 Grands Crus to $20 bargain wines, Wine Access loyalists know we have the full spectrum covered. If you’re just tuning in, today’s 2014 Bernardus Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir from winemaker Dean DeKorth, is a perfect example of the extreme value wines we source. This is no ordinary $20 Pinot: crafted by DeKorth, a Monterey native who has spent time at Burgundy giants Leflaive, Lafon, and Morey — this ranks as our Pinot STEAL of the year so far. And it’s already drawing raves from the Bernardus fans who locked into bottles of our first allocation, like this 5-star rant: “Great big flavor, lovely lasting finish. Let this one open for at least an hour before drinking!” Bernardus stands toe-to-toe with the full-throttle Pinots of Kosta Browne, ROAR, and Siduri. But when it comes to value, nothing tops DeKorth’s bottlings. This Santa Lucia Pinot is offered at $35 from the winery. Today, another 100 cases at $20 — 43% off.
Kosta Browne’s 2014 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir will set you back $104, but this 2014 Bernardus boasts the same-appellation provenance, a Burgundy expert, and homegrown winemaker, and a very modest price. We call it bottled proof of the stellar conditions that graced California’s Golden Coast in the 2014 season, inspiring Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate to give it an “outstanding” highest-in-the-decade 93 points.
2014 was one of the driest on record in Monterey County, which led to early-season stress on the vines. As fewer berries competed for the same nutrients, berry size was smaller and natural concentration correspondingly higher.
Give DeKorth those raw materials, and something special is bound to happen. He has proven that it doesn’t take a big-name vineyard to make a big-time impact. Exhibit A is the 2014 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot, which over-delivers at a price point well below that of the swanky vineyard-designate wines that keep Bernardus on every critic’s radar.
- Wine Access Wine Team