TN: 2001 Sea Smoke Southing

Purchased upon release. My last bottle of SS. I was concerned at first as I had to use an ah-so to get the cork out. It came out in one piece but this was the softest cork I have ever pulled out of a bottle. It was not wine soaked at all. Anyway, expecting the worst I was pleasantly surprised by the perfect deep red color w/o a trace of browning. Smells just like CA PN with an added herbal element and just a touch of over-ripeness. On the palate it was just good. It seemed to be aging a bit clumsily with the components diverging as opposed to melding into a harmonious wine. It was just on the edge of alcoholic over-ripeness to me. If you have them, drink up. I don’t think there is any positive evolution in its future. If you must have points I submit 84 of them.

David [drinkers.gif]

My general feeling is Cali Pinot should be consumed young - granted this is a broad generalization but I can tell you I don’t buy many of these to cellar. Curious what others think?

Most CA PN is better when young to my palate also. I just drank up all my 04 LWC PNs and I absolutely enjoyed every one. I got the feeling that they were poised to begin that divergence of components that I find in most CA PN as it gets old ungracefully. I like well made PN (sans over-ripeness or excessive alcohol) from any address. The different styles and aging curves of PN made in CA/OR/NZ/FR allow me to enjoy a glass of my favorite grape juice anytime.

David [drinkers.gif]

I agree for the most part but IMHO Tom Dehlinger, his ex-winemaker Fred Scherrer and Joe Swans Pinots all have the structure to age their patooties off. Just opened a 99 Dehlinger Estate Pinot and it is still a young whippersnapper. VB

I had an 05 Botella on Thursday night and I cannot imagine it in a better place. I find 5-7 years on most CAPinot is perfect.

+1 with the caveat I don’t think all CA Pinot does this well. I try not to buy those twice. And a few need longer such as Adrian Fog and Brogan. And Sea Smoke, in my opinion, IS NOT an early drinker.

Have no Adrian Fog experience but otherwise I agree though I have had some very old CA PN bottles I have found alive and interesting to compelling.

Did you decant the wine? Over how long of a period was this bottle drunk? I find that every Sea Smoke, even the older ones, do much better with a significant amount of air time.

I had the '01 Botella within the last 6 months and I thought it was singing. My dad also had one recently and he said he gave it a 5-hour decant beforehand and said it had significantly improved with time from when he just popped the cork.

I haven’t had an '01 Southing in a while, but will pop one when I can drink again. (I’m currently on a time-released form of morphine which has a caution label that says that alcohol can release a fatal dose of morphine into my system… so needless to say, no drinking for me!)

As we’ve seen in this thread, it seems quite subjective as to where in the life span of Cali pinot one likes to drink it. Certainly as the wines age, they do lose that purply vibrancy that a lot of people love. I tend to like them more when they’ve moved beyond that stage and start to develop some earthy characteristics. That said, I agree with Anthony that the '05 Botella is in a really happy place right now.

(Disclaimer: my father is the owner of Sea Smoke)

This is a bit tangential, but this note sounds similar to an '02 Longoria Fe Ciega (similar exposure and perhaps soil as SS vineyard in SRH). A bit of lifted/volatile ripe fruit aromas, tobacco-y notes and not really seeming quite as one whole though the structure was still there. Now these were very young vines in '02, but Longoria’s Fe Ciegas are usually pretty masculine, powerful wines. Not quite Power Pinot, but fairly extracted, a good dose of new oak, plenty of tannin & acid, and riper fruit. They definitely seem like they need a few years to come together.

Yes, I know SS fans will say “who cares, this isn’t SS.” Fine, but based on stylistic grounds, it’s a data point to keep in mind. Anyway, my take away from this is the masculine styled SRH Pinots probably need several years to meld, but may not go much further. This is fine, just need to know how to optimize. If 5 years gets the correct balance, then 5 years it is.

This is also a young vineyard, planted what…in '98 / 99? So first vintage was 2000/2001? Give the vineyard some time to mature a bit, and I assure you these wines (and from the area) will go much more than 5 years. We haven’t scratched the surface of what this area (Sta. Rita Hills) can do. Very exciting times down here.

Mostly planted in '99, but a few plots in '00. First vintage was 2001 for Botella and Southing. The first vintage of Ten was 2002.

Verne: I have a 99 Dehlinger Estate on deck. Dehlingers are one of the exceptions and usually age well. Glad to hear it showed favorably. I’m looking forward to my last bottle. Scherrer is my current fave. The 07 Sonoma PN is the finest CA PN I’ve drank in the last year or so. I just grabbed six more bottles.

I popped and poured the Southing. We drank it with dinner over a couple of hours. I don’t think it improved in the glass. It was better when first opened.

David [drinkers.gif]