While I haven’t been posting many wine reviews lately, it hasn’t been because I haven’t been drinking any wine. God forbid! No, I’d been drinking down a lot of my Spanish Tempranillo stock for the last few months. But as this year draws to a close, the Missus and I decided to open a bottle of the prize of my (admittedly) meager wine collection, a 2013 Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir. While I hoard my bottles of this wine like Smaug in the Hobbit hoarded dwarven gold, after a crappy 2017 I thought it might be nice to end the year on a high note.
About Sea Smoke
Southing refers to the south-facing hillsides on the Sea Smoke estate vineyard in Santa Rita Hills, California. As this wine is 100% pinot noir grape, a finicky grape notoriously hard to cultivate, the “terroir” of the vines are of premier importance. While Pinot Noir grapes thrive best in cooler climates than sunny California, the southern facing of the vines means the grapes are not subjected to sunlight all day. This combination of sun and shade, along with the fertile California soil, creates an environment for a truly great Pinot Noir with intense fruit and lighter acidity than most Pinot Noirs.
This wine is from 100% Pinot Noir grapes. After harvesting, the grapes are de-stemmed and allowed to cool in the winery cold room. After a fermentation and maceration process of about three weeks, the wine is casked in 100% French Oak casks (55% new barrels) for 18 months.
While I should probably be arrested by the Vino Police for drinking a wine this young, it has all the earmarks of a classic Pinot Noir. This is an intense wine, with a floral nose, and aromas of cherry, blackberry and fig. Wonderfully smooth tannins and long complex finish. A little minerality at the end, perhaps a nod the bottle should have matured just a little longer. A few more years and it could be perfection in a bottle!