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2019 “Vera Mae” Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

2019 “Vera Mae” Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir


Vera Mae Phears was Clarice’s youngest daughter – and also my Mom. Like her mother before her, my Mom was a non-drinker, although she occasionally gave my wines a taste. Despite her abstinence, she was immensely proud of me and my wines. She was especially thrilled when I started Clarice Wine Company and loved to share any reviews and news about my wines with her friends.

The one complain that my Mom had about my Clarice Pinot Noirs was that they were too expensive. “My friends will never be able to buy them,” she would say. I explained the rising cost of grapes, barrels, and glass and spoke to her about the discounts that Clarice Members receive on the wines. She understood it all and yet continued to wish for a Clarice Pinot Noir that her friends could purchase.

Unbeknownst to her, I started working on an idea for a less expensive Clarice Pinot Noir. To make that happen, it would have to be exactly the right year – one with a good bit of natural tannin to compensate for the lack of new oak which is simply too expensive to use on a less pricey wine. The 2019 vintage proved to be just the right vintage, with more skin and seed tannin – especially in the barrels of press wine. I pulled together these older barrels and racked them together, off the lees, and the wine was wonderful. Voila! I had the wine for my Mom.

Sadly, Mom passed away on Valentine’s Day, 2020 and thus I never got to share this wine with her. I think she would have been happy, though, that I finally came up with a wine for her friends. She might have even tasted it with me.

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