2006 Sea Smoke Pinot Noir Botella- USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Rita Hills - Sta. Rita Hills (1/26/2010)
A good dose of heat overwhelms the fruit, but some cherry and cherry blossom poke through, along with a touch of new oak. Incredibly soft on the palate - surprisingly so, and likely the ‘softest’ wine I can remember. Very nice acidity helps balance the softness, and a pleasant combination of baking spice, cola, and cherry form the classic flavor profile. Finish is a bit syrupy, with sort of a sticky sweetness tied to the fruit - essentially finishing ‘sloppy’. The best part of this wine is definitely the midpalate, where the acidity and softness collide. (89 pts.)
Good plan - it needs the time to further integrate. Normally Botella drinks well young - this one did not. Heidi wanted a SeaSmoke tonight as a celebration for a little gig she got at our daughter’s school, and she doesn’t like Champs, so she wanted Sea Smoke.
Don’t think this wine is going any farther! the syruppy is only going to get more so as this wine dives, imo. Will be interested to here your reviews in 18+ months, but from my experience with this wine, I don’t think they’ll get any better but only .
I’ve been running into this candy finish recently with higher end Pinots. Maybe I just wasn’t noticing it before, but it’s a bit of a nuisance. You start with a great bouquet, right on target for a Cali Pinot, full body and fruit, then the finish gets sticky. Not the end of the world, but a dry finish is really what gets these wines over the hump from good to really good for me.
I had the influence of my wife, who liked it. The midpalate was quite nice, however - just the finish was bad news. I’d go probably 87 on my own, but have to figure my wife’s input as we use the scores to determine what we want to drink again, etc, so when she likes something, if it has a low score, I’ll probably never want to open it for her!
I don’t think even I understand what I just said up there…
I’ve found it more in RRV, SRH and SLH pinots. Not all of them, but I associate it with these areas more than SCM and Anderson valley. I’ve grown to like the former less and the latter much more over time.
That said, I still really like and buy sea smoke every year. Good to know I should hold onto my only bottle a while longer.
My two recent encounters with this were an '06 SRH and an '06 Willamette Valley (hot Oregon vintage). So likely related to bigger, higher alcohol wines, though both were in the 14.3% range if one trusts the label. I also think toasty oak may play a role, or perhaps a synergy between the higher alcohol and oak giving a caramel finish.