Once upon a time there was a little girl who was so excited by her delivery of Sea Smoke wine, she decided to try both bottles on the same night. She so enjoyed starting her evening with the Chardonnay that it seemed only natural to open up the Pinot Noir to pair alongside her Friday night fun meal. And so it was…

About the Wine: The Sea Smoke 2015 Southing Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from the Sea Smoke estate vineyards located in California’s Sta. Rita Hills AVA. The grapes were hand-harvested, hand-sorted, and destemmed. The musts were cold-soaked in open-top fermenters for five days then inoculated to begin primary fermentation. The maceration process lasted eighteen days with twice-daily manual punchdowns. The free run wine was then transferred to tank to cold-settle overnight before being gently pressed. After which, all free-run wine and pressed wine were racked into 100% French oak barrels (45% new) to age for 16 months.

This wine was bottled unfiltered and unfined.

14.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Sea Smoke 2015 Southing Pinot Noir and breathe in dark, brooding aromas of tar, blackberries, mud, and midnight. This Pinot Noir presents a soft purple-meets-rouge on the pour, settling into the glass exactly the same. It’s light, penetrable, fading out to a watery, cranberry aura.

Initial aromas are of plush green bushes dampened by dew at night; rose petals so plush they’re wilting; there’s a bit of bramble; a bit of earth; there’s an essence of indecipherable herbaceousness. Swirl, and release more fruit — blackberries, boysenberries — and a perfume of black roses.

The palate of the Sea Smoke 2015 Southing Pinot Noir is soft, round, and immediately textural with tannins. The acidity offers a light kick mid-palate and a tart finish. Dominant flavors are of cranberries, boysenberries, bramble, a hint of mint chocolate, oak wood, currants, and fresh basil. And — much like the Chardonnay I enjoyed previously — it has a warmth that just hugs the heart.

Food Pairing: First, I’d like to add a note that the Sea Smoke Pinot Noir was the perfect progression from its Chardonnay counterpart.

I paired the Sea Smoke 2015 Southing Pinot Noir with a simple vegetable pizza topped with mushrooms, olives, and sprinkled with pecorino cheese. The solid acidity throughout the wine that offered the tartness in the finish of the wine was the perfect complement to the richness of the pizza, cutting through the fats, oils, and “meatiness” of the mushrooms. What I also particularly enjoyed was the funkiness of the pecorino — it seemed to bring out deeper fruit flavors (namely currant) as well as helped round out the palate of the wine into a fuller, fleshier texture.

More Info: I received the Sea Smoke 2015 Southing Pinot Noir as a sample for review. (Cheers Miriam!) Retail: $65.  For more information about Sea Smoke, their wines, and to order wine directly, please visit the Sea Smoke website.

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