A couple years ago we were at my wife Jennifers boss' house in Seattle. Her boss Sean is a "wine guy" and every year he would have us over to his house to celebrate the year. Sean always catered the wine himself but outsourced the food. It was always a pretty fun evening always with great food & wine.
One year he introduced us to a brand known as Sea Smoke but it wasn't the Pinot Noir it was their Chardonnay. If you know us, you know previously we haven't been big Chardonnay fans. Mainly due to the over-oaking that took place in Napa with their wines. Big, bold buttery chardonnays are one of the worst things you could drink, for us anyway. Give us a fresh, crisp Chablis or Cape Chardonnay and we were happy.
Since that time a few years ago I've been on the look out for Sea Smoke BUT haven't found it anywhere. A quick look at their website about a year ago revealed to me why I couldn't find it. Well you see its all sold through allocation. That means you have to apply to get onto their "LIST". Sea Smoke will email their list after Harvest & bottling once a year and let everyone on the list know their allocation is available to purchase. Everyone goes and purchases their allocation for that year.
That seems simple enough but the problem is there isn't enough wine for everyone so not only is their a list but there is also a "waitlist". Well, I've been on the waitlist for a year now and still nothing... How did you get the wine I hear you ask then?
Well every now and then if you're lucky you can walk into a random small fine wine shop, this time it was Yao Fuzi Fine Wines in Plano Texas & you'll find a few bottles. Turns out YF is on "The List" & he gets 12 bottles a year.. They had 6 bottles of the "TEN" & 6 Bottles of their other Pinot called "Southing".
I snagged 3 as quick as I could & brought them home with me to save for a special occasion. Last nights special occasion? A random Thursday night with Sous Vide Lamb Chops & Pork Chops. :)
Turns out Sea Smoke is in the Santa Rita Hills of Southern California. The estate vineyard is located in the northern hemisphere’s southernmost – and sunniest – Region 1 microclimate, which has the coolest temperatures for grape growing. The Pacific Ocean fog (‘sea smoke’) funnels across their hillsides each afternoon, creating ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir.
The Pinot Noir vines are planted on south-facing hillside bluffs, in ‘transition zones’ characterized by rich clay soils, aiding them in their quest for quality. According to their website this is where Pinot Noir finds its most sublime expression.
Their estate vineyard is certified both organic and biodynamic because nurturing the soil and vines – without toxic chemicals and in harmony with nature – is the right thing to do for the land, for their employees and for their customers.
Sea Smoke’s unique combination of sun, fog, soil and meticulous farming results in wines that are lush, elegant and expressive.
I have to say they've hit the nail on the head here. I can sometimes have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Pinot Noir. Sometimes I love it & sometimes I hate it. At times from France Its just to earthy for me with to much "farm" also known at "brett" ( Brettanomyces ) a yeast naturally occurring in the wine that adds character some people see as a flaw. Other times its just to fruity with to much cherry which just for me adds an unpleasantness to the wine.
Sea Smoke TEN Pinot Noir 2016 named so because of the 10 different Pinot Noir clones used in the estate blend had struck the perfect balance. It has notes of red fruits but none of that sweet & sour cherry & also a great texture & mouthfeel lending itself to luxuriousness. At around $100 USD yes please, I want some luxuriousness. It's hard to get that luxury feel in wine. I believe it should be in all high end fine wines.I like to sometimes describe it as a velvety feel. It also displays some balanced earth notes and a touch of smoke to soften it perfectly.
Overall I give Sea Smoke TEN a very solid 4.5 stars on Vivino. Go check out my review there & make sure to follow along for more reviews & travels. If you like what I'm doing here please comment below & just let me know you stopped by.
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