Our Selection for Wine of the Week November 22, 2010
Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir Sea Smoke Cellars
2008 "Ten" Pinot Noir California
The California winery Sea Smoke Cellars is all about location. It was founded in Santa Barbara County's Santa Rita Hills to take advantage of the region's growing climate, (which many experts call “perfect” for growing Pinot Noir). But Sea Smoke didn't settle for just any Santa Rita Hills location. The winery's grapes are planted on south-facing hillsides to take advantage of both sun exposure and night fog. The 2008 "TEN" (named for the Ten clone of Pinot Noir from which the wine is made) is a rich and complex wine. On the nose, it offers plums, black cherry and cocoa with a faint turmeric and underlying animal note. In the mouth, the wine's flavor is intense with plum, tart cherry and pomegranate up front, masculine, leathery notes at the back and cocoa and caramel on the lengthy finish. Its structure is augmented by velvety tannins and the zing of acidity. The wine was just recently released and is only starting to come into its own. (It is the sort of offering that will continue to grow and evolve for years.) Try it with hearty winter foods like beef stew, duck confit or rack of lamb with a sour cherry compote. The wine's bright acidity would also make it a great foil for a plate of creamy cheeses or lightly sweet desserts like cranberry walnut biscotti.