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Las Piedras: The Undiscovered Gem Grown on Mt. Palomar

Today’s pick was inspired by an article I wrote for my site, WhatsWorthDrinking.com. In that post I reviewed a Sangiovese by what has become one of my favorite wineries in the Temecula area.

Las Piedras is the private label of Steve Hagata, the winemaker at the Temecula Valley’s own Falkner Winery. Clinging to the slopes of Mount Palomar at 3,500 feet elevation, the Arroyo Vineyards are planted solely to Sangiovese and Syrah.

The winery only produces two wines, both of which are red, and 100% varietal. Their production is extremely low, with a total output of only about three hundred cases annually with the Sangiovese and the Syrah combined. Both are made in a classic, reserved style that relies on extended aging in almost entirely used oak to accentuate, but not overpower, the unique aromas and flavors of the terroir.

Wine #1: Las Piedras 2007 “Arroyo Vineyards” South Coast Sangiovese

Delicate notes of vineyard dust and red cherries drive this wine’s aroma. Subtle hints of suede, white button mushrooms, and red currants also show through quite clearly. Very light, almost powdery, and incredibly
soft, this wine is attractively demure.

Very bright and ripe, the palate shows strong notes of fresh cherry and dried red currant. There is also a faint dustiness with a touch of suede and dried violets. This wine is soft and supple with a great balance between red fruit and delicate earth notes characterized by mushrooms and forest moss.

Worth Trying. 88 points.

Wine #2: Las Piedras 2006 “Arroyo Vineyards” South Coast Syrah

This wine’s aroma is a fascinating combination of dark fruit, spice, and bakery tones. Marzipan, grilled cherries, and cardamom show at first, with soft floral tones hiding in the background. A spin in the glass reveals notes of chocolate covered blueberries and huckleberries, Christmas spices, and a hint of exotic wood.

Fresh berry juice introduces the palate, with exotic wood and violets following nearly immediately after. Sweet herbs, a very faint nutty tone, and s hint of marzipan show surrounding a core of black raspberries and burnt crème brûlée. A very refined wine that opens bright and stays fresh into the finish, this is a versatile pour that would pair with a variety of dishes.   Easily…

Worth Buying. 90 points.

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