Tondre’s Grapefield was planted in 1997 on six and a half acres in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA (American Viticulture Area). It now has seven blocks equaling approximately ninety-nine acres: Pinot Noir 81 acres and Chardonnay 18 acres. It also includes a tiny amount of Syrah and Riesling. The clones of Pinot Noir planted are 115, 667, 777, 943, and Pommard, which makes up the lion share of the Pinot.
A distinctive spiciness, almost redolent of forest floor, permeates the entire AVA and becomes stronger the further north you go. The spiciness is due to cool conditions; think of how much cooler it is in the northern Rhone and how spicy those wines are compared to the wines from the southern Rhone. The same is true of the SLH AVA. The Tondre’s Grapefield sits right in the middle, occupying a sweet spot between the north and south, capturing both the spiciness of the region but also the overt red and black cherry fruitiness of the Pinot Noir.