Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir 2017
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Southing refers to the south-facing hillside bluffs found on Sea Smoke's estate vineyard. Each year, the goal for this wine is to create the ideal marriage of complexity and elegance. Southing is a true expression of the terroir of Sea Smoke Vineyard: seductive flavors and fine tannins complimented by cool climate acidity. 100% Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills.
Sea Smoke wines are sought after by many, but received by few...the quantities are so limited and the quality is so high, that we are happy to offer our clients these stunning American examples of Pinot Noir and a tiny bit of Chardonnay. If there is a star in the Sea Smoke story, it’s not a person, but the rare and magical property that for years local vintners coveted for its potential to grow great Pinot Noir. In 1999, this land in the heart of Santa Barbara’s Santa Rita Hills AVA became Sea Smoke Vineyard. Located on south-facing hillside bluffs, the Sea Smoke Estate receives plenty of sunshine, just like most of California. But what makes this vineyard truly special is its shallow clay soils, south facing slopes, and the layer of marine fog (sea “smoke”) that travels up the Santa Ynez River canyon each evening, cooling the vines.
This cooling influence makes extended ‘hangtime’ possible prior to harvest – allowing flavors and tannins to fully mature, while still maintaining lovely acidity. This results in wines that are lush, elegant and expressive. Because Sea Smoke is an estate winery and the California equivalent of a ‘Monopole’, the estate does not buy or sell grapes. Their obsession with Pinot Noir has its roots – literally and figuratively – in their estate vineyard, and this obsession is apparent in the way they farm. Striving for low crop yields and small grape clusters, the vineyard is planted with ten top-quality Pinot Noir clones on vigor-reducing rootstocks. Each vine receives individual care and handling from the vineyard crew at least eight times a year. The folks at Sea Smoke want to be good stewards of the land so they have been farming sustainably for over a decade, and in 2013 they went beyond organic and began farming the entire vineyard biodynamically.
Because lab tests never tell the whole story, the folks at Sea Smoke ultimately rely on their own taste buds to decide when to begin harvesting individual blocks. The east and west sides of each block are usually picked at different times, for example, and after hand harvesting, grapes are chilled overnight, pre-sorted, de-stemmed and then carefully table sorted. Meanwhile, they evaluate the clonal characteristics and tannin profile of every harvested block, tailoring corresponding fermentations accordingly. They keep each block and clone combination separate throughout fermentation and aging. This helps develop a deep understanding of the characteristics of each vineyard block, observing how each responds to specific barrel profiles and ultimately gives an array of flavors and characteristics to draw upon during blending.
|Region||California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills|