"Capturing a True Sense of Place"


When it comes to crafting world-class Pinot Noir, “place” really does matter. No other grape is so reflective of its place of origin, of its “terroir.” As Michael says, “You simply cannot make a truly great Pinot Noir without first starting with great fruit.”

That is why Michael early on identified key properties in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation from which to source the Mooney Family limited releases. The S.L.H., with its steep mountainside terraces and close proximity to Monterey Bay, is one of California’s premier cool climate winegrowing districts. The growing season in the Highlands is the longest in the state, with early budbreak in the spring and gentle ripening late into fall – allowing for the all important “hang time” that is the recipe for rich Pinot Noir flavor and structure.

All four of the vineyards that Mooney draws upon – Boekenoogen, Vigna Monte Nero, Tondre & Hahn's Doctor's Vineyard – are in the heart of the Santa Lucia Highlands. Here the fog and wind off nearby Monterey Bay and the granite and loam alluvial soils combine for perfect conditions for top-flight Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.