The Healthy Soils Program (HSP) stems from the California Healthy Soils Initiative, a collaboration of state agencies and departments to promote the development of healthy soils on California's farmlands and ranchlands. The HSP Incentives Program provides financial assistance for implementation of conservation management that improve soil health, sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The HSP Demonstration Projects showcase California farmers and rancher's implementation of HSP practices.
After CDFA’s careful study and analysis of our application, Monterey Pacific, Inc was awarded a grant that helped us fund two exciting projects: one at McIntyre Vineyard and the other at Brayden Vineyard. In partnership with the Xerces Society, we created a customized plant list consisting of species that were appropriate with each site and worked well with our climate. We were able to plant a hedgerow with native drought resistant plants like Milkweed, Salvia, Elderberry, and Manzanita, to name a few. We also planted a cover crop with a mix of flowering annuals and perennials to attract beneficial insects and to provide nectar year-round for pollinators.
These efforts, planting hedgerow and cover crops, will enhance our biodiversity within the vineyard and provide habitat for endangered pollinators and food sources for beneficial insect population. Increasing our biodiversity allows us to reduce our need for pesticides because we will rely on biological controls for the pests and weeds.
Now that we’ve been able to plant the hedgerow and cover crops, we will follow the growth and transformation of the agro-ecosystem in the years to come. As we follow its growth, we can compare the cover cropped rows with the unplanted rows in our other vineyards and witness the effect of natural predators on the pest populations. We will also be tracking the GHG reduction in the soil.
We hope to see immediate benefits within these first few years. A burst in the insect population, will increase the bird population, which feeds on these insects. Since we have a year round cover crop, which we mow instead of till, this keeps carbon sequestered in the soil and enhances microbial activity. And as time progresses, the rest of the ecosystem will restore itself as long as we maintain the hedgerow and cover crops.
We are excited to see this beautiful transformation of our agro-ecosystem for years to come!
Proprietor Steve McIntyre is one of the most knowledgeable viticulturists in California. As owner/operator of Monterey Pacific, he and his team farm 12,000 acres in Monterey County and have planted or farmed nearly one quarter of the vineyards in the renowned Santa Lucia Highlands AVA.
The McIntyre Estate Vineyard lies in the “sweet spot” of Monterey County’s Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, a 12-mile stretch of benchland renowned for production wines of character and complexity. Originally planted in 1973, the 80-acre site (60 acres planted) boasts some of the Highlands’ oldest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines. The winery’s other estate property is the 81-acre Kimberly Vineyard in Arroyo Seco. The Arroyo Seco AVA produces deep, powerful, well-structured Merlot. The McIntyre Estate Vineyard was among the first properties in the Santa Lucia Highlands to be SIP (Sustainability in Practice) Certified.
Fruit for the 2015 McIntyre Vineyards Merlot Kimberly Vineyard was sourced from 20 year old vines. It pours a nearly opaque garnet with dark and red fruit, violets, tobacco, licorice, and a hint of cola aromas. On the palate it’s full bodied and elegant with vibrant acidity and velvety well integrated tannins. It shows ripe blackberry, black cherry, black currant, a hint of boysenberry vanilla, graphite, licorice and savory spice flavors with a hint of cacao and a very satisfying finish. 14% abv|SRP-$25. Wonderful QPR with this alluring wine. (Martin Redmond, Enoflyz Blog)
SALINAS, California – May 1, 2019 – The McIntyre family has broken ground on the first phase of their winery hospitality center at their McIntyre Estate Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA of Monterey County. The new facility will be located on the River Road Wine Trail, approximately five miles from the city of Gonzales, California.
Phase 1 of the hospitality center plan includes a large park and an outdoor amphitheater for small and large events. The park will feature a pedestrian tunnel that will eventually serve as the entrance to an underground barrel room. Ultimately, when the project is finished, there will be a tasting room, offices, courtyard, kitchen and a winery facility. Phase 1 is scheduled to be finished by mid-August of 2019.
Steve McIntyre has a long history in the Santa Lucia Highlands that stretches nearly four decades. He has planted and farmed more than 20% of the entire AVA and vinified hundreds of wines from its grapes. Steve McIntyre knows the soils and the climate of SLH and understands what makes this celebrated region so special.
“The Santa Lucia Highlands is one of the world’s greatest regions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay,” says Steve McIntyre. “It’s also one of the most serene places in California. When our customers visit our property, touch our soil, taste our wines and talk to our family, they have a much deeper appreciation of what we are trying to accomplish. Our new hospitality center will give wine lovers a front-row seat to the Santa Lucia Highlands and McIntyre Family Wines.”
The public is currently invited to taste McIntyre Wines at their Tasting Studio in the Crossroads Shopping Center off Hwy 1 and Rio Road in Carmel. The Carmel location is open Tuesday – Sunday from 11 am – 6 pm. For more information on the Tasting Studio call 831-626-6268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir: 90 pts *Support Breast Cancer with this bottle*
"Pale orange-pink. Bright and energetic on the incisive nose, displaying fresh red berry, orange zest and floral scents and a subtle herbalnuance. Chewy and taut in the mouth, offering zesty strawberry and bitter cherry flavors that take a sweeter turn with aeration. A minerally note adds cut to the finish, which lingers with very good, floral-accented tenacity."
2014 Estate Old Vine Pinot Noir: 94 pts
"Deep bright-hued red. A complex bouquet evokes candied red berries, cola, incense and floral oils, and a suggestion of vanilla emerges as the wine stretches out. Fleshy and alluringly sweet, offering black raspberry and cherry-vanilla flavors that are energized and given lift by a jolt of juicy acidity. Blends power and finesse with a sure hand and shows no rough edges. The floral and cola notes return on a strikingly long, energetic finish that's shaped by smooth tannins."
2015 Per Ardua Red Blend: 92 pts *Wine Club Only until November 2018*
"Vivid ruby. Perfumed aromas of cherry preserves, red currant, pipe tobacco, cedary oak and dark chocolate. Broad and fleshy in the mouth, offering sweet red fruit liqueur and mocha flavors that take a darker turn on the back half. Cassis and cherry qualities linger impressively on the finish, which is framed by dusty, building tannins."
2016 Estate Pinot Noir: 91 pts
"(one-third new French oak) Brilliant red. Lively, mineral-laced red fruit, floral and cola aromas are accompanied by vanilla and woodsmoke nuances. Juicy and energetic on the palate, offering bitter cherry and raspberry flavors that become sweeter on the back half. Shows very good depth as well as energy and finishes long and smooth, with strong, red-fruit-driven persistence and silky tannins that add subtle grip."
2016 Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay: 90 pts
"(30% new French oak) Light bright yellow. Fresh peach, melon and tangerine on the fragrant nose. Juicy and pliant on the palate, offering gently sweet orchard and pit fruit flavors that slowly tighten up on the back half. In a fresh, forward style, with no rough edges. The appealingly sweet, nicely persistent finish leaves a hint of honeydew melon behind."
2016 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir: 90 pts
"Vivid red. Ripe red berries, sassafras, rose oil and a hint of mocha on the perfumed nose. Silky and energetic in the mouth, offering pliant raspberry and cherry flavors that are sharpened by a peppery note. In a fruity, forward style, showing very good closing thrust, no obvious tannins and persistent red berry character."
2016 Estate K-1 Block Chardonnay: 93 pts *Not released, coming soon!*
"Pale gold. Displays expansive aromas of ripe citrus and orchard fruits, along with smoky mineral, jasmine and toasted brioche qualities. Sweet, seamless and penetrating on the palate, offering intense pear nectar, tangerine and pineapple flavors that are braced by a spine of juicy acidity. Blends power and finesse with a sure hand and shows a seductively velvet-like texture. The floral and mineral notes come back strong on the finish, which hangs on with strong persistence."
2016 Estate Chardonnay: 92 pts
"Limpid yellow. Vibrant, smoke- and mineral-accented aromas of fresh citrus and orchard fruits are complemented by a suave floral overtone that builds with aeration. Offers palate-staining pear and tangerine flavors that pick up a toasty lees note on the back half and shows excellent clarity. Deep yet lively in character, delivering solid finishing thrust and leaving a sexy, floral quality behind."
When the heat of the day transitions into a chilly night, we know that fall is here. And, for many, when the weather changes, so do our choices in wine and food. That crisp, mineral driven white wine that was perfect by the lake suddenly isn’t as satisfying while sitting next to the warmth of a backyard bonfire. The almost translucent rosé that paired so well with a fresh seafood salad enjoyed alfresco doesn’t taste as luscious with those spicy ribs falling off the bone at the tailgate barbecue (as you’re huddled under a blanket).
Located in Monterey County’s Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, McIntyre Estate Vineyard lies along a 12 mile stretch of benchland that produces wines of character and complexity. Planted in 1972, the 80-acre site of which 60 acres are under vine, offers some of the area’s oldest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines. Proprietor Steve McIntyre, who also owns and operates Monterey Pacific, notes that the McIntyre Estate Vineyard was among the first properties in the Santa Lucia Highlands to be SIP (Sustainability in Practice) Certified.
McIntyre 2016 Chardonnay ($28) will satisfy every Chardonnay lover’s palate. Intense aromas of juicy citrus, yellow flowers, and stone fruit paved the way to flavors of lemon, citrus, baked apple, tropical fruit, and bananas. Thanks to a round mouthfeel, vibrant acidity, and juicy finish, pair this wine with roast chicken and fingerling potatoes for Sunday supper.
McIntyre 2016 Estate Vineyard Chardonnay ($38) is sophistication in a bottle. Creamy on both the nose and palate, structure, complexity, and minerality were obvious with each sip. I discovered notes of oak and vanilla, almonds and warm apple pie, lemon and stone fruit as I appreciated the brilliant acidity and lingering finish. Pair this wine with homemade crabcakes, spinach salad with warm bacon dressing, and candlelight.
You may be thinking apropos the title of this post, “F.K., why didn’t you just say ’12 California Chardonnays’? Why add ‘I liked'”? Because, Dear Reader, I don’t like many chardonnays made in California, so when I come across a dozen that I can write about together, I want to emphasize that fact. The reason, as you probably know from having been a devoted reader of this blog — bless your little pointy heads! — is that so many chardonnays from The Golden State are saturated with swamps of oak that I open even one with trepidation, and when I’m looking for an appropriate white wine to drink with dinner, I will open just about anything other than chardonnay. It’s a real crap-shoot, this whole chardonnay business. The wines reported on in this post age in French oak barrels for varying amounts of time and using various percentages of new barrels, but the important point is that all 12 achieve a state of balance among all elements, sometimes pushing the boundaries, it’s true, but sometimes that bold, risky factor adds a frisson of appreciation. Other selections here are more elegant and restrained. Today we range from Santa Barbara County in the south to Mendocino County in the north. Vintages represented are 2014, ’15 and ’16, with the ’14s really coming into a state of grace. These wines were samples for review, for which I thank the wineries and marketing people involved.
The pale straw-gold McIntyre Vineyard Chardonnay 2015, Santa Lucia Highlands, is a rich, bold chardonnay that ultimately displays itsbalance and integrity. A heady bouquet of lightly toasted pineapple and grapefruit offers notes of green apple and pear, cloves and allspice, camellia and lilac; it’s a dense, vibrant and resonant chardonnay, obviously delivering a lot of personality, presence and flavor on the palate but restrained by a dry, crystalline edge of flint and chalk minerality. The finish brings in hints of dusty graphite, smoke and a touch of woodsy spice. 14.2 percent alcohol. Steve McIntyre made 840 cases. Drink now through 2021 to ’24. Excellent. About $28.
[Posted by Fredric Koeppel, Bigger Thank Your Head blogger, http://biggerthanyourhead.net/2018/06/04/12-california-chardonnays-i-liked/]
McINTYRE VINEYARDS, 2015 CHARDONNAY SANTA LUCIA HIGHLANDS, $240 ($30) ★ ★ ★ ★
McINTYRE VINEYARDS, 2014 CHARDONNAY McINTYRE ESTATE VINEYARD, $320 ($40) ★ ★ ★ ★ +
Two excellent Chardonnays. The SLH bottling is full bodied, very supple in texture, ripely flavored, and lightly oaked; a wine that is well balanced and medium long on the finish. In aroma/flavor, it tastes of pear, apple, white peach, vanilla, and toast. Fine value. 840 cases. 14.2% F The Estate Vineyard is a richer wine: fleshy in texture, full bodied, and intensely fruity (pear, white peach, apple, pineapple, lemon), it has modest oak character (vanilla, toast), good balance, and a very long finish. A luscious wine. Excellent value. 240 cases. 14.2% [2018-2020]
McINTYRE VINEYARDS, 2016 ROSE OF PINOT NOIR, SANTA LUCIA HIGHLANDS, $208 ($26) ★ ★ ★+
Light salmon pink color. An intensely flavored, crisp rose that is round, balanced, and long on the finish, tasting of plum, peach, and lemon. Very good value. 340 cases. 13.1% [2018-2019]
McINTYRE VINEYARDS, 2014 KIMBERLY VINEYARDS, ARROYO SECO, $224 ($28) ★ ★ ★ ★
A supple, full bodied Merlot of excellent quality. It is quite rich in flavor (blueberry, cherry, cassis, cedar, spicy oak), balanced, and long on the finish. Will develop with further aging. 14.5% [2019-2023]
McINTYRE VINEYARDS, 2015 PINOT NOIR SANTA LUCIA HIGHLANDS, $320 ($40) ★ ★ ★ ★
A full bodied, intensely flavored Pinot Noir that has good depth, light tannin, and a very long, firm finish, tasting of blueberry jam, strawberry, rose petal, pepper, dried fig, herbs, vanilla, and oak. Can be aged further. 540 cases. 14.3% [2019-2022]
McINTYRE VINEYARDS 2015 PINOT NOIR McCINTYRE ESTATE VINEYARD, $192/6 ($48) ★ ★ ★ ★
McINTYRE VINEYARDS 2013 PINOT NOIR OLD VINE, ESTATE, $280/6 ($70) ★ ★ ★ ★+
Two excellent Pinot Noirs. The 2015 Estate Pinot is a supple, full bodied, medium rich wine that is well balanced, mildly tannic, and long on the finish. It has complex aromas/flavors (plum, strawberry, cherry, red currant, black tea, spicy oak), and warrants at least 3 more years of aging. 368 cases. 14.1% F The 2013 Old Vine is fleshy in texture, full bodied, and concentrated; a Pinot Noir with excellent depth and balance, and a very long, lightly tannic finish. In tastes of plum, blueberry jam, strawberry, black tea, cedar, and oak. Will develop further. From 40+ year old vines. 76 cases. 14.4% [2019-2022]
By Gina Birch (USA Today & News Press.com)
"Last Friday was National Pinot Noir Day. All day and into the weekend I was teased and delighted by photos on social media of the delicious pinots friends and strangers were celebrating with.
Pinot noir is one of the most versatile food wines thanks to its acidity, fruit and medium to low tannins. Characteristic flavors include cranberry, cherry, raspberry, vanilla, mushroom, cola and wet earth, among others.
When considering these attributes it’s easy to see how it could pair so well with such a wide variety of foods: salmon, duck, mushroom sauce, risotto, roasted vegetables, Gruyere cheese. At a table full of people with entrée choices spanning a wide range, pinot noir can make almost everyone happy.
A temperamental grape with thin skin, growers and wine makers often refer to it as the heartbreak grape. As with most things in life, not all pinot noirs are created equally, especially considering where the grapes are grown and who is making the wine.
And unfortunately in most cases with this wine, you almost always get what you pay for.
Burgundy is the mother ship when it comes to pinot noir. It’s the only red wine produced in this region of France. It’s also the origin of almost all of the pinot vines planted in the U.S.
You may have tasted wines from other parts of the world and heard them described as Burgundian in style. Pinots from Burgundy tend to smell both earthy and floral, like violets. They have fresh red fruits, minerals, and most of all balance. Burgundies are considered graceful and they get more so the longer they’re in the glass.
Oregon is on the same parallel as Burgundy, and Willamette Valley is one of the most highly regarded areas in the U.S. when it comes to pinot noir.
The wines produced here are typically light in color, tart, earthy and delicate in structure.
California pinots are darker and more fruit forward with dark fruits and vanilla. The state’s growing conditions are warmer and drier than Willamette and Burgundy. For some of the best pinots in California look to Sonoma and the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County. The areas get the cool air and fog that make these particular grapes happy.
For red wine lovers stifled by the Southwest Florida heat, pinot noir is perfect year round and even better with a little chill on it; a 65-degree range will do.
From the Santa Lucia Highlands is a small production wine that has a mouthwatering blend of plum, blackberry and cherry, with lovely lingering spices on the finish."