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Jul 23, 2007 10:28 AM

Someone tell me about the 2005 Sea Smoke Ten Pinot Noir

My husband surprised me with a bottle for my birthday. I know it is one of those wineries that sells out because of the name-but does it live up to the hype?

Also, how long should I cellar it for it to be in its prime?

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  1. its not ready to drink yet. I believe the SS website says 2009 at the earliest. If you can't wait, decant it for 1+ hour.

    Mine are just sitting here waiting to be drank/drunk?

    You should check out tasting notes on winelibrary/winespectator/ebob forums, see if trhose tastes match with your tastes to decide if you want to believe the hype. I for one love big fruity pinot's!

    4 Replies
    1. re: clayfu

      It has been my experience in the past that Sea Smoke Pinot Noirs are excellent. Live up to the hype, depends on how much you think they have been hyped. But it should be an excellent bottle of wine when it is ready to drink in about 2 or three more years.

      1. re: clayfu

        In my experience, the Sea Smoke wines are usually relatively ready to drink upon release. Definitely the Botella and the Southing are. Maybe less so the Ten...but I would be shocked that a CA Pinot from the '05 vintage wouldn't be drinkable until 2009.

        Otherwise, Sea Smoke is excellent. Worth the $$? Who knows. It's all personal taste.

        1. re: domaine547

          You are so correct about "personal taste." I like my PNs with a little age on them, in general. I even cellar the Acacia Carneros, which is not in the same league. However, with its brighter, heavier fruit, it's probably more "ready to go," than some other, more complex and intense PNs. Most of my heavy-hitters get 2-5 years in the cellar - very general "rule-o-thumb."


          1. re: domaine547

            Its drinkable, but drinkable doesn't equate to optimal. Seasmoke themselves suggest opening it past 2009 but if you must open it before hand to decant it a hour ahead of time. This applies the most to the ten, but could apply a bit to the SOuthing. But the Botella is 100% ready to drink once you buy.

        2. Just had it about 4 weeks back. Very nice, would have benefitted from some more time in the cellar, and would DEFINITELY have benefitted from better glassware! It was good, with signs of real potential. If you can cellar it properly, I'd give it a few years.

          Since it was a very active social occasion, I do not have proper TNs, but I got a bunch of dark cherry, some tar, some earth and brambles. The alcohol seemed up a bit (do not recall the ABV), but it could have been the warmth of the wine (AZ patio party), or the spicy kick of the food being served. It was not bad, just something that I noted.


          5 Replies
          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Bill, I want to come to your parties.

            I had the opportunity to taste these wines for the first time last week in Napa. Good luck finding them in my home state, Texas. We had both the Southing and the Ten. It was so good, I went back to my hotel and signed up for thier mailing list. Something I have never done before.

            1. re: chickstein

              Chickstein, you are able to find these wines (maybe not now, but a couple of months back) in Dallas. I actually tasted the Southing at a friends house (he obtained the wine from Goody Goody at about $50 which is essentially retail). I could definately see the potential. Unfortunately, we did a pop and pour and didn't decant which made it hard to appreciate the fruit which was masked by the tannins.

              1. re: chickstein

                Just saw your comments. Nice to see your name around this board. I guess that you have been traveling too much and need to kick back and drink some wine.

                I have a caterer, who is pretty high up their list. He always "gifts" me a few bottles, and also puts some aside, if he's doing the event. I reciprocate with Biale Black Chicken Zin, so we are square.

                While I love subtle, nuanced PNs, I also enjoy the bigger, extracted ones, so long as they are still balanced. Besides the SeaSmoke, I buy most of the Brewer-Clifton, that I can, including their Chards. Do not have my notes, but I picked up a few small wineries' offerings, where Brewer was the "guest" winemaker. These were all great, but I have not been able to locate any, outside of Santa Barbara.

                Last - I still do not feel that I have adequately thanked you for the Blackberry Farm rec. I'm trying to steal my wife for a long weekend, to dove-tail to a business trip to Nashville and Atlanta. Wish me luck.


              2. re: Bill Hunt

                Alcohol is a bit higher on SeaSmoke generally, but the heat definitely dissipates with age. I'm drinking my '02s right now. I've had the other vintages, but most of mine are resting. Also these wines benefit a great deal from a prolonged decant.

              3. Excellent wine. I've been buying SS since they first came on the market and have had every vintage of every cuvee many times, and currently get a very large allocation. SS is a great producer and even with the hype they haven't disappointed. The Ten is their top cuvee and is a terrific wine. I would hold for at least 2 years before opening. Prolonged decant (2+ hours) is also recommended.

                1. Let me tell you about another "Sea Smoke" you will LOVE!!!!!
                  I was recently in Santa Barbara dining at Bouchon and had a bottle of a 2005 Foxen Pinot Noir Sea Smoke Vineyard. I swear it was one of the most incredible wines I have tasted. (98 according to Parker) Unfortunately, like most of Sea Smoke's wines, It was made in very small quanities. The restaurant may still have a bottle to serve you at dinner but, I was lucky enough to purchase the last remaining bottles from Foxen. No, they are not for sale. I'm saving them for a very special occasion. PS The food at Bouchon in Santa Barbara was comparible to Auberge in Napa Valley, which was one of the best meals of my life. I ate at Bouchon 2 nights in a row. They helped me choose a bottle of Sea Smoke each night and I let them choose my meal. Great fun. Susan

                  1. Check out Wine Searcher. I picked up quite a few Foxen Sea Smokes last night from both 2004 and 2005. Even picked up a magnum of each. Great stuff!

                    Just checked Sea Smoke's site and tracked my order, and it is in transit to my buddy in Illinois, who will then forward it on to me since they can't ship to Jersey. Can't wait! Only popped one of our '05's from last year so far, a Southing. Tasting notes posted below. -mJ

                    7/25/2007 rated 93 points: Opened and decanted for 3 hours. Nose of cherry and dark fruits. On the palate more cherries and dark fruits. This wine definitely needs some time in the bottle, but I just couldn't resist...especially since I have 3 more in the cellar. This reminded me of a new world wine compared to a Burgundy, and that is fine with me. This is a big wine in my opinion for a pinot, but that is not a bad thing to say the least. Nice long finish on this wine, and not overly complex. I think this wine will age well for the next 3-5 years and be fabulous in that time frame. If drinking now, be sure to decant at least an hour. We'll hold these until our 2010 allocation comes in. =) (7025 views)

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: njfoodies

                      The Foxen Sea Smoke Pinot- a very good friend has a magnum of this beauty- expect more from this pairing. There are 2-3 other vineyards in the same proximity that folks are keeping a close eye on, and a huge ass "fund" group has come in and bought up quite a bit of land in the Santa Rita Hills out that way- keep your fingers crossed they don't ruin it for all the little guys....

                      I am not sure who has taken the job as winemaker at Sea Smoke, but hope they are able to do as Kris Curran did- that is one heck of a vineyard.

                      Last week- Melville held their Pinot Symposium, and I worked with the caterer serving lunch to 105 folks, listening to Greg Brewer talk about wine for 2 hours- priceless. He is so into it- it makes one jealous of the relationship he has with the vine.

                      1. re: JalamaMama

                        Actually, Don, Kris Curran's assistant is taking over as the winemaker from what I heard. That being said, I really have no worries that this wine will change any in the next couple years as Don takes the reigns. I think we will all be pleasantly surprised, and really hope that we see no change at all. Time will tell! -mJ

                        1. re: njfoodies

                          I would bet little to no change in the style.

                          Don's mom and dad-in-law own Ampelos. Although he's never been allowed to make Ampelos pinots, the remainder of their wines are in line with the usual Central Coast style i.e. "muscular" and fruit forward.

                          1. re: vinosnob

                            He is not allowed to? Wow- I'd find a new job too......

                            1. re: JalamaMama

                              How do the SeaSmoke wines compare to Rochioli? I know that requires a complete generalization/blanket statement. Are they more fruitforward, more masculine, more extracted, less balanced? Which is better in your personal taste opinion? Thanks!

                              1. re: shlomoaren

                                Rochioli is better in my personal taste opinion. But only by a little.....