Sea Smoke is one of those names that I’ve heard all about, comes highly recommended, and…I’d never had before. So I was so pleased when I received a shipment featuring the winery’s flagship Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In fact, I was so excited to try their wine — I tried them both in one night. And you know what? I’m glad I did. The Sea Smoke Chardonnay was the perfect way to start my Friday evening…

About the Wine: The Sea Smoke 2015 Chardonnay is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes harvested from the Sea Smoke estate vineyards located in California’s Sta. Rita Hills AVA. After harvest, the grapes were hand sorted then gently pressed and the juice was pumped into stainless steel to cold-settle. Solids were removed and the juice was then racked into a stainless steel fermenter. There, the juice was inoculated with yeast to undergo primary fermentation. The wine was then racked into barrels 100% French oak barrels (26% new) to undergo secondary, malolactic fermentation. The wine aged in barrel for 16 months with regular battonage.

This wine was bottled unfiltered and unfined.

14.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Sea Smoke 2015 Chardonnay and breathe in soft scents of warm sea salt air and citrus blossom. On the pour, this Chardonnay presents an extremely pale straw yellow, settling into thte glass just two shades richer, reminiscent of the morning sun. Initial aromas are of warm cream, yeast, green apple, cashews, and solid dose of acidity. Swirl and the wine releases additional scents of apples, pears, more of that warm, humid seaside air. Lift the nose above the glass and find those citrus blossoms.

The palate of the Sea Smoke 2015 Chardonnay is immediately rich, smooth, and full-bodied with just a thin, but assertive, line of acidity riding from beginning to end that offers a splash of a tingle at the very center of the tongue. Dominant flavors are of fuji apple, pomelo pith, a background of butter, hazelnut, and just the slightest hint of white strawberry. The finish leaves an after-breath reminiscent of nut skins or popcorn kernels, and there’s a warmth that flows all the way down to the belly.

Food Pairing: I actually enjoyed the Sea Smoke 2015 Chardonnay as an aperitif to my evening Pinot and pizza party. (Which was actually a Seasmoke Pinot and pizza party.) It was the perfect starter — one glass was enough to get myself in that relaxing mood. That being said, the Chardonnay would have paired quite well with a pizza as well — especially one topped with cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli) and off-hard cheeses (like fresh parmesan) and maybe something a little “funky” (shaved truffle). It’s a hardy white wine and can withstand substantial flavors and textures.

More Info: I received the Sea Smoke 2015 Chardonnay as a sample for review. (Cheers Miriam!) Retail: $60.  For more information about Sea Smoke, their wines, and to order wine directly, please visit the Sea Smoke website.


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