2012 Sea Smoke "Ten" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

SKU #1178089 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A much bigger, richer Pinot Noir, the 2012 Pinot Noir Ten is a cellar selection chosen with the focus on structure and richness. Brought up in 65% new French oak, it has sensational purity and depth in its sweet black raspberry, crushed violets, spice and subtle oak aromas and flavors. These all carry over to the palate where the wine is full-bodied, concentrated and textured, with notable tannic grip. It's another wine from this estate that deliver tons of flavor authority while never seeming heavy, cumbersome or over the top. I wish more estates would make wine in this style. I was thrilled with these latest releases from Seasmoke and when the region is chasing Burgundian-like ripeness and acid profiles, they continue to show it is possible to make rich, full-bodied and concentrated Pinot Noirs from the Sta. Rita Hills that are a joy to drink.  (8/2015)

K&L Notes

A darling of the critics, Sea Smoke remains of the Central Coast's cult Pinot producers. Ten is a blend of ten Pinot Noir clonal selections sourced entirely from the Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills. The wine saw 16 months in 65% new French oak barrels before bottling. From the winery: "A brooding and intense wine. The aromas begin with notes of dried lavender and dark cherry, then a myriad of spices, blueberry and dusty slate. Firm, mature tannins--evidence of Ten’s ageability--are followed by a long, velvety finish."

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Varietal:

Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.5