2003 Sea Smoke Pinot Noir Southing
Last edited on 12/18/2007 by Eric
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VINTAGE DETAILS: The 2003 growing season proved to be quite a viticultural challenge for us and for the central coast of California in general. Unseasonable weather throughout the year kept us on our toes and very active in the vineyard. Rain and wind during flowering resulted in uneven fruit set, which required us to green-drop 60% of our crop to maintain quality. On the bright side, the small remaining crop turned out to be uniform and of exceptional concentration. A warming trend at the end of the summer produced an earlier than anticipated harvest, which commenced on August 28, 2003. The classic and predictable Santa Rita Hills afternoon marine fog (sea ‘smoke’) prevailed through harvest, allowing us to finish the growing season with confidence.
WINEMAKING: Grapes were hand-sorted and gently de-stemmed with no crushing; ‘jack stems’ were removed by hand. The must was cold-soaked in open-top fermenters for one to four days (depending upon the lot), then inoculated with a cultured yeast to begin a slow fermentation. Each tank was manually punched down one to three times per day over a period of 14 to 18 days. Upon completion of primary fermentation, and the desired number of maceration days, all free-run wine was transferred to tank for settling. Pressing was done at extremely low pressure (0.08 bars) to avoid extracting bitterness from the seeds. After settling overnight, both the free-run and the press wines were racked cleanly to separate barrel lots. The final blend includes lots that showed elegant fruit, rich middles and developed tannins. The wine was aged for 20 months in 65 percent new French oak barrels and was bottled without filtration.
TASTING NOTES FROM SEA SMOKE: Dark garnet in color, the 2003 Southing is elegantly styled. Aromas of wild blueberries and black cherries mingle with violets and subtle dustiness. This wine has ample body and firm, ripe tannins that integrate well with its cool climate acidity. We recommend decanting this wine thirty to sixty minutes prior to drinking, particularly if consumed before 2007.