An Evening with: Pierce Ranch Vineyards

For our second meeting of the San Diego Wine Guild in 2018, we had Pierce Ranch Vineyards presented by Josh Pierce. This small family-owned winery in Monterey County's San Antonio Valley AVA. They produce estate-grown wines focused on Spanish and Portuguese varieties. After our club activities of procedure, Josh gave us the history of how Pierce Ranch Vineyards got into wine grape growing & eventually winemaking. From his's family's first vines, they knew they were in for more than they bargained. Soon they realized that they had been bitten by the wine bug, adding to the vineyard while focussing on varietals that thrived in the natural climate of the region.

We started the tasting portion of the evening with 2 chilled white wines. The first was a 2016 Albariño (link) that was very reminiscent of a Rías Baixas made wine. It worked well with the potato salad & peeled shrimp. The second pour of our program was a 2016 San Antonio Valley Verdelho (link). This could be substituted for a bold CA Chardonnay, as it had a buttery toasted note that paired very well with the baked Mac & cheese.

The next pour of the evening was a 2013 Tinta Cão (link), a variety that is usually associated with the production of Port wines. It has balanced tannins, acidity and sweetness, along with i bright color similar to Pinot Noir. The fourth pour of the evening was a Barrel Sample of the 2016 Touriga Franca. The nose was bright with flavors of red fruit punch and white flowers. The palate was made up of rose water, crushed raspberry, dark cherry, orange blossom, with medium tannins and short finish. The fifth wine tonight was a 2015 San Antonio Valley Touriga (link). This blend of 98% Touriga National & 2% Touriga Franca had layers of flavors that unfolded on my palate.

The next wine up to taste was a 2014 Graciano (link). This deep red wine was smooth & balanced & complimented the charcuterie I still had on my plate. At this point someone asked about the winemaker. The last round of wines to taste were 2015 Petite Sirahs, Lot #1 (link) & Lot #2 (link). These big bold wines were a lot less green and vegetal than I experienced in the past. They were uniquely different, but both shared a dark fruit & earthiness character. What made them stand out from each other were unique layers of complexity. I was having pumpkin pie at this point, so not much of a pairing combo but tasty all the same. We ended the evening with a request for questions and an invitation to try another wine that Josh brought in small quantities, a 2014 Arinto (link).