What happens when you plant a vineyard on the beach? You get wonderfully terroir driven wines that make you feel like you’re on the open ocean with a crisp breeze in your hair. You get Aequorea. Winemaker Aaron Jackson works with a dedicated group of growers that have a passion for “ocean farming” and have vineyards less than 6 miles from the coast, many of which are actually planted in the sand. Fittingly, Aequorea is latin for “Of The Sea,” and you can truly taste it in every sip.
The Aequorea Spanish Springs Vineyard Pinot Gris 2017 comes from a vineyard that is planted in 80% sand, near the town of Pismo Beach, on the westward side of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Jackson does very little to manipulate the wine, as he believes in letting the fruit, and the truly unique area, speak for itself. Which it does, strongly.
“This is one of my favorite wines to make each year, because I believe that producing a truly stunning Pinot Gris is actually quite difficult.” And most would agree. Jackson strived for an Alsatian style of Pinot Gris with a focus on its richness and elegance, and truly, this is the Scarlett O’Hara of its varietal.
It starts with the skin contact: 12 hours on its skins to retain the unique texture and rose-gold hue popular in many forms of Pinot Gris. Then the wine is gently pressed and aged on its lees, leaving behind a creamy, silky texture. Once the wine is in the glass it radiates perfumed aromatics with a hint of citrus: honeysuckle and white flowers with juicy mandarin oranges, and crisp, refreshing lime. On the palate it’s a completely different experience: mouthwatering acidity and complex flavors dominated by juicy stone fruits, apricots and nectarines, with subtle notes of vanilla and brioche, and ending with a salty minerality from the ever-present ocean breeze.
This wine will pair wonderfully with a wide variety of creamy dishes, but it shows it’s best when paired with a meal that brings out all the contrasting flavors this unique Pinot Gris has to offer: Scallops in a Rosemary and Garlic Cream sauce. The briny scallops will help to bring this wine’s ocean induced minerality to the foreground without overpowering the other subtle notes in both the wine and the dish.
This is a wine that truly transports you to a different place and time: sitting on the beach with a chill breeze ruffling your clothes, while you watch the sun set and the warm golden color of the wine itself take over the sky. After a glass, you might be feeling that you’re “of the sea” too.
Check out the Aequorea and Aaron Wines at AaronWines.com or visit their Tasting Room at 3050 Limestone Way, Paso Robles, CA 93446.