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WINE REVIEW: 2018 Oceano Pinot Noir, Spanish Springs Vineyard, San Luis Obispo County, CA ($45)

Updated: Oct 3, 2019

by Andrew Chalk

Put this Pinot Noir from a tiny winery in California’s central coast as one to watch out for. Oceano owner Rachel Martin makes just Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from San Luis Obispo County grapes. Winemaker Marbue Marke, trained at UC Davis and is now based in Napa, makes the journey to SLO to oversee things.

The fruit for this particular wine comes from one of the best vineyards in the area. Located in SLO county but just outside the two AVAs of Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande, it nonetheless possesses the same terroir as those adjacent areas and will be easier to categorize if the proposed SLO Coast AVA is approved. On a recent media trip to SLO, Spanish Springs Vineyard accounted for more wines from more winemakers (5) than any other vineyard I encountered.

I have tasted and enjoyed Oceano 2017 Chardonnay and 2017 Pinot Noir but have to admit that this Pinot Noir is the best of the three. The nose is cherries, forest floor, and thyme. The palate: is distinguished by its savoriness. It has medium acid, chewy tannins, cherries, and mushrooms all wrapped into a complex and sophisticated bundle. The finish is soft fruit and earthy notes.


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