Pinot, Pinot, Pinot; we’re all pretty turned onto this one, right? After “Sideways, we all wanted to taste Santa Barbara Pinots, right?  The following 2016 Lucas & Lewellen Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County, now defines Pinot in Santa Babara for me. Smooth, silky, and as delicate as violet flower petals.


When your history is that of family grape growing, you hold the earth in your hands at a much more reverent level. Wine grape growers are fascinating people, if you’ve never been able to have a one-on-one with such a person. Is it trite to say “they’re so down to earth?” Probably, but I don’t think anyone can say it enough.

Here’s a bit from Louis Lucas’s biography.

Louis Lucas is one of California’s premier wine grape growers and a legendary pioneer of the California Central Coast wine region. Prior to co-founding Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards with Royce Lewellen, Louis supplied premium wine grapes to many of the most famous wineries in Napa and Sonoma. Best known as an innovator and master at utilizing a variety of growing practices and techniques, Louis’ vast knowledge and viticulture experience span over 40 years.

Grandson of Croatian immigrants, Louis is originally from the Central Valley where his father was also a leading grape grower. Louis graduated from Notre Dame University with a degree in Finance and Business Economics. He returned to California to join the family’s wine and table grape business, in search of a place to grow premium varietal wine grapes. He became one of the first commercial wine grape growers in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. During this time he developed Tepupsquet Vineyards in Paso Robles and in Santa Maria (now Cambria) and also developed Edna Valley Vineyards in San Luis Obispo and River Bench Vineyard in Santa Maria.

Louis Lucas studied the great vineyards of the world, when he toured wine regions throughout Europe, Australia, and Chile. This is the best experience, in my humble opinion, as I’ve had the opportunity to stand in many vineyards in countries outside of the US. They’ve been my most favorite experiences relating to wine. It’s so primal and visceral.

Product: Goodchild High 9 Pinot Noir

  • Producer: Lucas & Lewellen
  • Appellation: Santa Barbara County, California
  • Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Noir
  • Alcohol Strength: 14.5% by volume
  • pH: 3.62
  • Total Acidity: 5.52 g/l
  • Case Production: 1,218 six-bottle cases
  • Bottling Date: 12/2017
  • Release Date: 2/2019


Description: On the palate, it is light-bodied, with bright red fruit flavors, smooth tannins, and a lingering finish. I was enveloped in its delicate flavors. It truly defines what Santa Barbara can do with this wine variety.  It helps that viticulture is handled by long-time grape growers,

Winemaker’s Notes: The vineyards of Lucas & Lewellen are located in the three principal wine grape growing regions of Santa Barbara County: Santa Maria Valley; Los Alamos Valley; and Santa Ynez Valley. These valley vineyards benefit from a transverse mountain range topography, and an east-west orientation that channels cool ocean air from the Pacific into the coastal valleys. Warm days and cool nights produce a long and gentle growing season. This limited vintage Pinot Noir is from the highest nine acre block of the Goodchild Vineyard — an outstanding location to grow the superior clone 667. The winemaker feels that because the grapes and vines in this vineyard fully mature at the same time, which he believes rarely happens in vineyards around the world, it makes a major difference. The cool-climate Goodchild Vineyard produces award-winning Pinot Noir grapes. The soils vary from clay and gravel river deposits, to hillside and hilltop sites reminiscent of the great vineyards of Burgundy. The 2016 Pinot Noir was aged for ten months in 100% French oak barrels.

Serving Hints: This Pinot Noir is great to serve with dishes like roast chicken, turkey, duck, venison, and medium-firm cheeses.

Suggested Price: $34.99 – 2016 Vintage

Stock image of Santa Barbara County… It’s simply beautiful there and the wines are world-class.

SAMPLE: Quintessential Wines