2009 Sea Smoke, Pinot Noir “Southing” Sta. Rita Hills.
One of the modern masters in California Pinot, Sea Smoke is a cult label that has a rabid following and a long waiting list to get on the list to get their wines. Sea Smoke was one of the biggest hits in the early years of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA along with Brewer-Clifton and Melville and were one of the wines that inspired the screenplay that ended up being the feature film Sideways. Southing refers to the south-facing hillside bluffs found on Sea Smoke’s estate vineyard, and allows the perfect ripening conditions in this cool growing region. Sea Smoke is now all biodynamic and continues to be a leading star in the Sta. Rita Hills and this vintage 2009 was highly acclaimed when released, garnering many outstanding scores, now almost a decade old it continues to please and has reached a glorious place in time. 2009 was a heady year and flashy in it’s youth, now it’s refined and richly smooth adding grace and complexity to an already great wine, it’s a hedonistic Pinot Noir that will thrill the novice and enthusiast both. Surprisingly youthful and well balanced for a warm vintage this 2009 is in a good place and drinking great with layers of black cherry, plum and sweet vine picked raspberry fruits, warm toasty French oak, but not too much, with spice, snappy anise and tea notes, gaining a hint of subtle maturity with air and a touch of earthiness that adds a nice contrast to the wines forward nature. I was one of the first to join their mailing list and had every vintage of Sea Smoke until 2012 with this 2009 Southing being the last of my stash, it is an impressive last hurrah with silky elegance, a medium/full body and ultra rich density, but with a nice cut of acidity even still, and reminds me why I loved Kris Curren’s wines, drink if you have it, it’s in it’s prime.
($65-125 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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