Producer: Jared Lee and David Sartain
Country: United States
Region: San Luis Obispo, California
Farming: Organic, Natural
Currently making Pinot Noir from the Derbyshire Vineyard and Chardonnay from the Spanish Springs Vineyard, Last Light’s very name is a nod to the coastal vineyards that see the last light of the sun on the west coast as it sets over the ocean. Founders Jared Lee and David Sartain both continue to make wine for other projects in Paso Robles, but neither has until this point focused on cool climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Within the larger San Luis Obispo County AVA lies the Derbyshire Vineyard. Located in San Simeon, the vineyard abuts Hearst Castle and is the closest vineyard to the Pacific Ocean to be commercially farmed. This location represents the ultimate in extreme cool climate viticulture.
To the south of San Simeon lies the Edna Valley AVA, a coastal area that has long been famed for its Chardonnay. Just three miles inland is the Spanish Springs Vineyard, whose close proximity to the ocean provide cool, even temperatures and fog cover. The result is an extended growing season, providing ripe fruit with excellent balance of sugar and acid levels.
The fruit they use is farmed sustainably, which informs their winemaking philosophy to a large degree. Always paramount is letting the vineyard speak for itself. The right soil, clones, maritime influence, farming practices, harvesting times, and many other factors are all what shape the wines. The vinification process is non-interventionist, with traditional techniques used. They do inoculate with yeast for fermentation, only because with fruit that is this coastal is not an ideal candidate for native fermentations.
For both Lee and Sartain, this project is truly driven by passion. They don’t make wine with mass market appeal in mind, instead focusing on producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay they want to drink and put their names on. With such unique vineyard sites, they focus solely on making wine that reflects these amazing coastal locations.