I wandered into the Siduri tasting room on a cold, rainy day in Healdsburg purely for the atmosphere. Comfy couches, warm lighting, it was the perfect ambiance I was looking for. As further luck would have it, I just happened to be the only customer, so the two tasting room staff members were more than happy to give me a bit of one-on-one attention as we all tasted through the winery’s current line up.

A tasting at Siduri is a study in Pinot Noir — because that’s all they make. They’ll start you with the open-textured and elegant offerings from the Willamette and slowly walk south, through all the major winemaking regions of California. The last stop will be Santa Barbara County’s Sta. Rita Hills AVA — and though they source from several vineyards in the area, I found the 2014 Pinot Noir from John Sebastiano Vineyard the most unique Pinot in my entire tasting that day.

About the Wine: The Siduri 2014 John Sebastiano Vineyard Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from the John Sebastiano Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA of Santa Barbara County in California.

14.1% ABV

About the Vineyard: From the winery —

The John Sebastiano Vineyard runs along the eastern edge of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation and, as such, it is in a warmer part of the valley. However, it is also situated on steep slopes that face directly west and into the winds that blow in off the Pacific Ocean. This leads to very small clusters and small berries and more concentrated wines. Our sections at the John Sebastiano Vineyard are selected to provide us different exposures to the wind, with one section shielded by a small hillside, one section facing into the wind more directly, and one section so steep and exposed that it was considered un-plantable at first (we call that section the doughnut).

Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Siduri 2014 John Sebastiano Vineyard Pinot Noir and breathe in deep aromas of black plum, dark chocolate, red meat smoke, mud, and darkness. On the pour this Pinot is a dusty pink-rouge with hints of brown. In the glass, the wine has the same coloring, but you can see how light it is — it’s completely see-through, but that tinge of rose-rouge hints at darkness. Tilt the glass, and observe an aura of burnt orange around the outermost perimeter.

Initial aromas are of rich, wild strawberries; roses; and a balsamic or soy-like umami. Swirl the glass and bring all those scents together, enlivened by acidity that cuts right through that perceived richness. Add to the aromas a strength of floral perfume, a hint of bright red cherry, and the funk of baby’s breath.

The palate of the Siduri 2014 John Sebastiano Vineyard Pinot Noir is simultaneously light and full, textural without any specifically harsh or lingering mouthfeel. The acidity provides just a bit of spice that cuts through that texture and leaves a lingering, long finish. Dominant flavors are of dried strawberries, balsamic, and chili-chocolate, leaving an after-breath of dried black cherry.

Food Pairing: I paired the Siduri 2014 John Sebastiano Vineyard Pinot Noir with roasted veal tenderloin, cauliflower purée, grilled asparagus, topped with a beef and mushroom jus.

I will make a note here that as the evening progressed and the wine opened up a bit, the texture came together, providing a smoother, lusher mouthfeel than upon first tasting.

What I loved the most about this pairing was the jus. The smoke that came through from the onions, beef stock, and mushrooms used to create the jus really highlighted that essence of balsamic umami in the wine, providing the perfect balance of sweet and savory with every sip.

Because of the cauliflower’s innate earthy-sweetness, it seemed to bring out a bit more of those chocolate notes as well as a kind of vanilla essence — but also accentuated that kind of chili-heat on the finish.

Overall this was a perfect pairing in my mind. But I’ll also add that this wine is just good. It’s the kind of wine you’ll want to keep sipping to discover all the different layers — and when paired with a meal like this one, it’ll keep you on your toes, discovering all its secrets until all the wine is gone and there’s no more secrets to tell.

More Info: I purchased the Siduri 2014 John Sebastiano Vineyard Pinot Noir at the winery’s downtown Healdsburg tasting room. Price: $50 for the 2015 vintage. For more information about Siduri, their wines, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Siduri wines website.


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