Pelletiere Estate Vineyard & Winery-Broadening Wine Horizons

June 11, 2015

California’s wine industry is no stranger to Italian wine producers. In fact, many household wine producers’ names are of Italian descent. However, these pioneers are not typically known for producing Italian varieties. Historically, Bordeaux, Burgundy and even Rhône style wines have dominated in tasting rooms throughout the golden state. Yet recently, it’s the Italian varieties that are gaining recognition and growing in popularity. 

Sure, we’ve all heard of a Sangiovese, but what about Nebbiolo, Montepulciano or Lagrein? If you’ve been fortunate enough to visit Italy, there is a good chance that you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing one of these exquisite varietals. But for most of us, they are new varietals that most have not heard of, much less tasted. Luckily, new winery Pelletiere Estate is attempting to change all that. Pelletiere Estate, a new addition to the Paso Robles wine scene, is broadening wine horizons with their estate grown Italian varieties, which include Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Montepulciano and Lagrein.

Although Pelletiere Estate is new, opening just a few months ago, their ten acre vineyard was planted some twenty years ago. “When the Pelletiere family took ownership of this beautiful property, the vineyard had already been planted and done so meticulously by our predecessor,” says current owner Janis Pelletiere Denner. “Although we did not plant the vineyard, I was drawn to its distinctive grape varieties and the wines they could produce.”

Are you wondering just how rare these grape varieties are? According to the California Grape Acreage Report of 2013, there are 1,868 acres of Sangiovese, 167 acres of Nebbiolo, and only 92 acres of Montepulciano planted throughout California. Even more rare is Lagrein. In fact, Paso Robles is home to only one acre of Lagrein and you can find it planted at Pelletiere Estate. “Paso Robles is heavily saturated with Rhône varieties and blends,” Denner says. “But at Pelletiere Estate, we believe that wine enthusiasts are eager for some diversity and are ready to discover Old World varietals in a new way.”

Pelletiere Estate’s Head Winemaker, Amy Butler, and Vineyard Manager Mindy Allen, agree that with the long, hot growing season and marine influence that Paso Robles provides, it is the ideal Mediterranean climate for producing such Italian varieties. According to Butler, “The unique microclimate of Willow Creek—a distinguished Paso Robles sub-AVA—as well as the soils in Janis’s vineyard, make Pelletiere Estate ideal for these varieties. We can make premium wines here with both elegance and power.”

Premium wine is right—Pelletiere Estate wines elicit excitement! Their 2012 Lagrein is velvety, luxurious and seductive. This wine leaves you beckoning for another sip! While the 2010 Sangiovese Riserva, aged 36 months in the barrel for your enjoyment, has lovely soft tannins and natural acidity. This savory classic complements any meal. Last, but certainly not least, is the 2012 Montepulciano. Exemplifying the exceptional terroir, this bold, bright and balanced Montepulciano is not to be missed. Although Pelletiere Estate has not yet released their Nebbiolo, fans of the variety can look forward to the release of the 2012 in the near future.

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