Sea Smoke ‘Southing’ Pinot Noir 2018

Perhaps no brand is more shrouded in misty mystery quite like Sea Smoke. The business model was unique. First every single bottle is made from the estate’s holdings – no purchased fruit ever – even if demand far outstrips supply. No required allocations. They have a list – it’s free to join. First come, first served. If you don’t want the wines, no worries, the person right behind you will.

The secret to Sea Smoke is the East/West running of the Santa Ynez river – an extremely rare phenomenon in the U.S. Instead of the maritime influence being caught by a mountain range, it’s influence rushes through the valley and into the vineyards.

Southing refers to the south-facing hillside bluffs found throughout the estate. The result is the perfect balance of immense complexity wrapped in elegance.


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Last year, the ‘Southing’ received 96pts from Wine Enthusiast. All indications are that this vintage is likely to blow that out of the water. The ‘Southing’ Pinot Noir is the marriage of elegance and complexity using all of the Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard. Every year this wine evaporates quickly after a smattering of big scores, but in a crazy year I managed to snag a few cases before the scores roll in and the wine rolls out.

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