Samuel Louis Smith

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Reviewed Wines

2017 Samuel Louis Smith Albatross Ridge Vineyard Monterey Pinot Noir

12.7% alc., pH 3.62, 146 cases, $44. Albatross Ridge is perched at the top of Laureles Grade at an elevation of 1,250 feet and seven miles from Monterey Bay. The site pushes the limit for winegrowing: windy is constant from the Carmel coast, degree days are minimal, and resulting yields are usually less than two tons-per-acre. 35% whole cluster. Native primary and secondary fermentation. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Appealing aromas of black cherry and raspberry that sustain over time in the glass. The friendly mid weight core of black cherry and raspberry fruit flavors have impressive mouth filling intensity. A captivating wine full of good cheer, with superb balance and a lengthy finish. Score: 93. Reviewed February 3, 2019 ARTICLE »

2016 Samuel Louis Smith Albatross Ridge Vineyard Monterey Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., pH 3.56, 109 cases, $44. Samuel Louis Smith is a micro n├ęgociant based in Salinas, CA. Sam is currently the winemaker at Morgan Winery in Salinas, producing 200-400 cases annually of Pinot Noir, and Syrah under his eponymous label, Samuel Louis Wines. The Albatross Ridge Vineyard is perched at 1,250 feet northwest of Carmel Valley. Yields are less than 2 tons per acre. 25% whole cluster fermentation, native primary and secondary fermentation, aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 36% new. Bottled unfiltered. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, raspberry, toast, smoke and ash lead off. Discreetly concentrated flavors of cherry and raspberry fruits with a noticeable guaiacol (smoke) note. The wine has nice harmony and fruit purity with suave tannins and up front drink ability. The smoke taint may or may not be averse to the drinker depending on their sensitivity to it. In any case, the wine should be consumed now as over time the as the fruit fades, the smoke taint will become more obvious. NOTE: In 2016, this vineyard was exposed to the Soberanes fire. Sam told me that he tracked the wine carefully through its elevage and there was a negligible level of smoke taint in the wine and his impression upon tasting was consistent with that level. He considers the amount of smoke taint to be part of the terroir of the vintage and is not enough to discard or even RO filter the wine. Score: 88. Reviewed March 17, 2018 ARTICLE »

2014 Samuel Louis Smith Radian Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., 73 cases, $42. Vineyard is located at the far western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Steep, with wind swept slopes and sedimentary soils. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Earthbound aromas of cherry and cranberry fruits lead to a lighter styled, somewhat austere wine featuring flavors of cherry, cranberry and blueberry. Infused with typical Sta. Rita Hills acidity, this wine has engaging traits, but it may be too somber for some California palates. More expressive the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 90. Reviewed August 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

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