When Derek and Esther, the Hong Kong couple behind Lucunda winery in Sonoma, California, explained to me why they chose the name “Lucunda” for their wine, I could feel their passion and joy for wine. “Lucunda” is derived from a Latin word meaning “pleasant” and “delightful”, just like the feeling we experience after drinking a very nice bottle of wine.
Derek and Esther have been drinking fine wine for many years, and in 2016 they purchased a 20-acre vineyard in Russian River Valley, California. They only grow Pinot Noir, and the average vine age is 20 years old. Before the couple purchased this vineyard, they tasted the wine produced from the grapes grown there and were so impressed they decided this vineyard was the high quality level they were seeking. In the past, the grapes were sold to prominent wineries in the region, and now the couple has put their determination into making their own premium wine – Lucunda. They believe that the true style of Pinot Noir is delicate and intense with a profound taste and bouquet.
To ensure consistent quality, they have been meticulous with every detail. First, they hired a top winemaker, Cabell Coursey, to lead a passionate team to handcraft Lucunda. He’s worked at top estates throughout the world including: Domaine Méo-Camuzet, Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat, Felton Road, Dry River, Beaux Frères, and Kosta Browne. Then, they set the bar as high as possible, limiting the production to 3,000 bottles a year. Yes, that is only TEN barrels of wine. Also, a few dozen bottles will be kept in their cellar library for checking the evolution of the wine from time to time. Fifty percent of new French oak is used for ageing without fining and filtration.
This misty photo captures the growing area of the Russian River Valley AVA and the huge impact the Pacific Ocean has on the region. The cooling influence of the fog is responsible for the large diurnal temperature variation with night time temperatures dropping as much as about 20°C from the daytime highs. This large temperature drop extends the ripening period and preserves the acidity which produces wines that are bright with a long ageing potential.
The first glass of Lucunda I tasted was at the launch event Esther and Derek hosted in March at the China Club. It was the perfect complement to the Cantonese cuisine. A pleasing sweet-cherry flavour dominated the palate with soft tannins making the 2017 approachable. It’s selling at a very reasonable price too which is key for a successful kick-off campaign. The wine is currently exclusively available in the U.S. and Hong Kong. We’re thrilled to be able to offer you the FIRST vintage of “Happy” – Lucunda in HK!