Paul Lato Spring Release

I do not recall when I signed up but it must have been a year or two or ago. I have a bottle but have not tasted his wines yet. Any comments?

2011 “Belle du Jour” Hilliard-Bruce Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay.

45% New French oak. Burgundian nose, bright acidity with green apple tonalities and sea minerals. Complex, seamless , handcrafted chardonnay at its best.

2011 “le Souvenir” Sierra Madre Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay

Wente Clone, 66% New French oak seamlessly integrated. Light vanilla notes, Acacia flowers, wet stone nose. Silky texture with zesty acidity and long finish. Clasisc.

2011 “East of Eden” Pisoni Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

Mostly Wente clone from one of the most famous vineyards in California. 75% New French oak very well integrated. Wet fur, vanilla, candy nose with a touch of smoke. Big yet beautifully balanced with structure and good acidity. Very pleasing. My French sommelier friend described it as “Corton” like.

2011 “Duende” Gold Coast Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

This wine achieved almost a cult status in my portfolio. It is a favorite of those who love the silkiness on the pallet. Perfumed nose and delicate, yet flavorful Pinot.
Martini clone. 50% New French oak. Old vines.

2011 “The Prospect” Sierra Madre Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

This is even better and more refined version of the last year that you all loved. Voluptuous, pleasing well balanced and full flavored. Velvety texture and a long finish.
2011 “Atticus” John Sebastiano Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

This wine in a very short time found a huge fan base. It is a very fine expression of “All American Pinot”. Big and ripe it is still very well balanced and hedonistic without being over the top. Fine acidity leads to a long velvety finish.

2011 "Seabiscuit"Zotovich Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Within just a few years this vineyard went through an incredible revival. This year’s version is by far the best I have made. It was almost impossible to make the tasting notes as every time I poured myself a sample, I drank it… Beautiful wine with exquisite balance between power and elegance. Very tasty yet complex and thought inspiring.

2011 “C’est la Vie” Wenzlau Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

This new addition to my portfolio comes from the vineyard located next to a famed Seasmoke vineyard. During 2011 it was cultivated in biodynamic style and gave us a very interesting set of flavors. Those of you who look for Burgundian style of pinot from California will love this wine. It is the lowest in alcohol of all of my pinots, medium body yet beautifully structured, smooth, zesty and refined. Perfumed on the nose with violets and crushed rocks. Inky in color, a complex and mysterious offering.

2011 “Suerte” Solomon Hills Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

This is a bigger wine with lovely acidity, harmony, structure and elegance. Multi complex yet easy going and wholesome. Perfumed nose. Many sommeliers and Chefs favorite. Very fine wine coming from a truly great site. 2011 “Alegria” Hilliard-Bruce Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

From the sandy hills of the Sta. Rita Hills this is an elegant, charming and complex expression of this great appellation. It has a hint of black cherry on the nose with light smoke and forest floor. Mid bodied, it is seductive yet structured and balanced.

2011 “Lancelot” Pisoni Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Another big but very fine example of American pinot with a French twist. This wine represents great terroir of California, the passion of its growers and the depth of our friendship.
It comes from Burgundian clone that is own rooted and over 30 years old. This year’s version is sexy, juicy, harmonious and seductive." Iron fist with a velvet glove". This could be best Pisoni I have ever made. It has this “Je ne sais quoi” that makes it truly great wine.


No one has any comments on which are must buys??

Apparently it was the Duende since it is already sold out. These are first come first served and tend to sell out quickly; the syrahs sell out even faster. I have never been disappointed by a Lato pinot. My favorite has always been the Solomon Hills bottling although I can’t give you any detailed tasting notes or any specific reason other than I like it the most. Prices are steep thus limiting my options but I usually get a few bottles from the different appelations just for variety. Lato, Copain, and R-M are the few pinots I’m buying this year.


I’ve really enjoyed past vintages of the Solomon Hills “Suerte” as well. Have not tried the Chards, but would like to.

All of Paul’s wines are good.
You can read some notes on Rusty’s newsletter —

Really like the Solomon Hills and Duende as well. Many of the other bottlings, I.e. Bruce Hilliard, are newer, and I have not had the opportunity, as of yet. My impression of these wines is that they are well crafted, and Paul spends a great deal of time thinking about his wines.

These are big wines in that they are not afraid to let the fruit be up front and center, most notably when young. However, Paul’s wines are the style that make you realize that there can be powerful, fruit driven wines that are Balanced. Balanced in the sense that the fruit, tannin structure and wood treatment all seems appropriate, harmonious even.

It is these types of wines that make an argument against those that only drink pinot below xx ABV. Many try to achieve this style, few realize it as frequently as Paul.


Not a sycophant, just a fan.

Have to admit that I’ve never tried his wines as I assumed he was mainly a syrah producer.

Exceptional Pinot in every aspect.