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Seal Beach Winery

Being a retired physician, I am always intrigued when I discover a winery run by a doctor who has also become a winemaker, especially when the winery is named after a small beach town located only a modest number of miles from my home. Michael Dawson, M.D., is a clinician who followed his passion for wine. He studied enology and viticulture at University of California at Davis after working in clinical medicine as a radiologist. His undergraduate degree in biochemistry and cell biology from University of California at San Diego gave him the basis for understanding the biology and chemistry of winemaking.

Michael began with small lots of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Santa Ynez Valley in an attempt to arrive at a preferred style. Currently, he crafts multiple varietals out of a winery facility in Seal Beach, California. Small lot boutique wines are designated as Natalie Grace and Taylor Noelle on the labels.

A tasting room is located in Los Alamitos, California, east of Long Beach, and the wines are sold online at

2013 Seal Beach Winery Taylor Noelle Clone 459 Pence Ranch Vineyard Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.61, 143 cases, $32. Harvest Brix 26.5º. Native yeast fermentation. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 50% new and 50% 3-years-old. · Light cherry red color with an orange caste. Slight reduction upon opening, progressing to appealing aromas of cherry, sandalwood, spice and nutty oak. Discreetly concentrated cherry and cranberry fruit flavors in a bright and rather delicate style with hints of citrus, white chocolate, sarsaparilla and tobacco that come and go. There is a good natural acid spine with minimal tannins making for refreshing drinking. Oak definitely plays a role but is mellow and not drying. Interestingly, this wine has somewhat the patina and flavor of an older wine. Better when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with more harmony and exuberance. Score: 90

2014 Seal Beach Winery Reserve Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.46, TA 0.64, 200 cases, $35. Sourced from Kessler-Haak and Rio Vista vineyards. Clones 667, 115 and 2A. Harvest Brix 28.0º. Aged 26 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderately light cherry red color with a slight orange caste. The nose is quite primal and savory, with aromas of mushroom, undergrowth, pennyroyal and shy cherry fruit. Light to mid weight in style, with inviting flavors of cherry, baking spices, cola and sarsaparilla. Silky tannins and graceful in texture, with reserve quality length and intensity on the finish. This wine is not overblown like many reserve designated wines. Score: 90

2013 Seal Beach Winery ‘Old Vine’ Wolff Vineyard Edna Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc., $21. Many vines are more than 75 years old. Native yeast fermentation in neutral French oak barrels, 100% malolactic fermentation. Aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 40% new medium + toast. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. The nose has a bit of leesy aroma along with lemon creme and chalk. Crisp and refreshing with a slightly creamy mouthfeel, offering a variety of citrus fruit flavors along with spiced apple and subtle oak notes. Very giving, even over time in the glass. A terrific wine that belies the price. Score: 92

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