Pey-Lucia and Laetitia Vineyards Featured in this month's Pinot Noir Series

8/28/2009

Both Pinot Noir selections this month have roots overseas and a commitment to sustainability. For the Pey's of Scenic Root Wine Growers (of which Pey-Lucia Vineyards is one of five entities) their  initial bond was forged at the University of Arizona where they both connected over stories of living abroad and their love of the European cultures surrounded by fine wines. Laetitia Vineyards was started in 1982 by French enologists and viticulturalists from Champagne Deutz who wanted to expand their production of sparkling wines into the United States. The property was then purchased by Jean-Claude Tardivat, who shifted the winery's focus to Burgundian-style varietals. Laetitia is now owned by Selim Zilkha, who was born in Baghdadm and raised in Egypt, Lebanon and New York. Jonathan Pey of Pey-Lucia began his career working for a number of wine industry giants: Lousi Jadot, Pomerol's Chateau Petrus, Penfolds and Robert Mondavi. Susan was raised in wine country and caught the wine bug at an early age. Her first job was as a Wine Director for Spectrum Foods and Il Fornaio restaurant groups where she would taste, evaluate and purchase hundreds of wines from around the world. She continues to buy wine as a career, professionally evaluating hundreds of wines each week. The Pey's settled in Marin County, California. Inspired by the area's wine growing history, they produced their first vintage in 1999- a Pey-Marin Merlot. Together, Jonathan and Susan share all of the work that goes on at the winery, he in the vineyard, she in the cellar. Their wines are beginning to earn some serious recognition due to their location in the ultra-cool Santa Lucia Highlands (perfect for Pinot Noir), their self-proclaimed 'pickiness' about the grapes they choose, and their sustainable, organic winegrowing practices. The Pey-Lucia 2006 'Frisquet' Pinot Noir has earned 94 points and an 'outstanding' distinction from Pinot Report and 90 points from Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar. Selim Zilkha is nearly 70 years old and has enjoyed several highly successful business ventures in his lifetime. His love for agriculture, food and fine wines brought him into the wine business and ultimately to Laetitia Vineyard and Winery. At the winery, he is joined by his son, daughter and an all-star viticultural team including father-son team Dave and Eric Hickey. The vineyard is located in Arroyo Grande, one of California's coolest grape growing regions well suited for Pinot Noir and the sparkling wines they continue to produce in honor of the first owner. All farming on the Laetitia vineyard is done with the goal of long-term sustainability and overall vine health and was recently awarded certification by the Sustainability in Practice (SIP) program. The Laetitia 2006 Reserve Pinot Noir is a premier blend of hand selected old and new Pinot Noir vines from Arroyo Grande. Awarded 95 points by Wine Enthusiast, this Pinot is described as "Laetitia's best reserve ever". Gold Medal Wine Club has selected these two exceptional Pinot Noir's for the Pinot Series Wine Club. We are very pleased to be able to present these highly-acclaimed wines to our members. As you taste the wines, please let us know what you think. Leave a comment here or go to "Judge the Wines". All wine reviewers are automatically entered for a chance to win the quarterly drawing for 1/2 case of wine. Additionally, if we publish your comments about an individual wine, we will send you a complimentary gift. Remember that Gold Medal Wine Club makes a great gift. Consider ordering a wine club membership for birthdays, anniversaries, or any other important events. Consider ordering a memberships for those on your holiday shopping list. It's easy- and it makes a fabulous, exciting gift that keeps on giving month after month.