PINOT NOIR. 1982–SANTA LUCIA CELLARS
by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | July 1984
Santa Lucia Cellars is the secondary label for HMR Ltd. formerly known as Hoffman Mountain Ranch Winery and Hoffman Vineyards.
“What is a secondary label?” is a question I am asked occasionally. Well, it is exactly that. It is a second label, under a different name and trademark, used by a winery who already has an established tradestyle. The reason for this can vary. The most common is that when a winemaker finds that the wine he has made does not meet his standards, he will market it under a different label so that his primary label reputation is not jeopardised.
Another reason is that if a particular vintage of a wine he made under his primary label is still available in considerable quantity, and his new vintage is ready for release, he might opt to release the more recent vintage under a secondary label so that his sales on the previous vintage are not affected. A marketing tool.
Yet another reason is the desire to introduce a line of generic wines or jug wines, and not have the new products mistaken for the original.
HMR Ltd introduced the Santa Lucia label to accomplish the third reason given above, when they released their infamous Burgundy early this year. (see Cellarmaster Comments. page 1).
Our red wine this month was released under the Santa Lucia Cellars label because of the second reason listed above. They had too much of their previous vintage HMR Pinot Noir to allow this one interfere with its sales.
HMR Ltd. and Santa Lucia cellars, named after the range of mountains their property is near, is now owned by a group of same 60 limited partner investors, who came forth and salvaged the financially ailing original ownership. They are selling off some of the vineyard acreage. The countryside is absolutely beautiful. If any of you are looking for an 80 acre ranch parcel with grapes on it, you should look at one of the 12 being offered. I can put you in touch. Drop me a card.
For a secondary wine, this is quite a Pinot Noir for five dollars a bottle. Not in the league of a few of its ancestors from HMR (remember the glorious 1975 which was the Nov.’82 selection) but rather nice! Hardly striving to be a great, it is showing enough varietal character to be identified and good balance to make it pleasing now. Yet, there is improvement potential. I picked this wine as a club selection a few months back, and last month, it went on to win a Gold Medal at the Orange County Fair. No wonder!
The wine is ruby red in color, with a brilliance in the glass due to its medium color intensity. At the first whiff it has a cherry aroma, followed by a fragrance of bouquet. It develops a deep varietal character on aerating by swirling in the glass. The nose finishes with a “sweetness”. The taste shows a medium body, well balanced, with textbook flavor of the Pinot Noir grape variety. A little hot near the finish, along with some tannin. Will smooth out. Serve at room temperature with pork roasts, hams, veal scaloppine, or beef dip sandwiches.
Cellaring Notes: Will mellow and improve for 5 years.