Saturday, November 4, 2017

Sea Smoke - Cliff Lede highlight FLW Tour Picnic

Sea Smoke and Cliff Lede Highlight Historic Architectural Sites Tailgate Picnic

We traveled to Charlestown, SC for a getaway weekend to visit recently transplanted dear friends, fellow 'Pour Boy' wine buddy Bill and Beth C. We did an immersion in their new city to explore the history, culture, architecture and cuisine (see posting of our Charlestown Culinary Tour). We chose this weekend to take advantage of the special event, opening of the Frank Lloyd Wright Auldbrass Plantation over in Yemassee, SC.

After touring the magnificent FLW property we enjoyed a secluded tailgate lunch at a nearby park at the site of the old historic Old Sheldon Church, originally known as Prince William's Parish Church. The church was built between 1745 and 1753 and was burned by the British in 1779 during the Revolutionary War, rebuilt in 1826, and then burned again in 1865 during the Civil War.

Bill and Beth prepared a picnic lunch and Bill brought a selection of some of our favorite wines for the occasion to accompany sandwiches, salads, snacks and dessert under the Spanish moss draped majestic towering oaks trees. 

Cliff Lede Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2015

This is the latest release of one of our favorite Sauvignon Blancs which I consider among the best representations of this varietal, which typically is the truest expression of a grape varietal fruit.

As written in an earlier blogpost in these pages, this vintage release is actually a blend composed of 82% Sauvignon Blanc, 14% Sémillon, 3% Sauvignon Vert, and 1% Muscat Canelli varietals. The result is a complex wine with layers of fruit flavors that blend together in a harmonious pleasant drinking wine.

The fruit for the Lede label is sourced from vineyards in the eastern Rutherford appellation (old vine Musqué clone and Sémillon), a vineyard in the southeastern hills of Napa Valley, grapes from a cooler climate vineyard on the east side of Napa, and some old vines of Sauvignon Vert from the Chiles Valley in eastern Napa County.

Light straw colored, medium-light bodied, harmonious nicely balanced layers of subdued citrus, peach, pear and lychee fruit with a refreshing crisp clean, smooth acidity finish.

RM 90 points.

Sea Smoke Southing Cenral Coast Santa Rita Hills Estate Pinot Noir 2009

This is a classic California Pinot from the Santa Rita Hills appellation on the Central Coast. The branding name 'Sea Smoke' depicts the fog that rolls in from the ocean to then burn off as the day warms up from the interior valley heat. The effect of this daytime sun and heating, and subsequent night time cooling gently soothes the grapes, only to start the cycle again the next day. The result, like the Las Alturas Pinot we had with dinner the evening before is a full bodied, bright, vibrant expressive Pinot Noir, concentrated and complex but nicely balanced and polished with forward fruit flavors.

This 2009 vintage got high marks from all the critics, 92 points from James Suckling, 91 points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar. Wine Spectator said this wine should drink well out to 2021. 

The winemaker's tasting notes describe the "goal for Southing is to create the ideal marriage of complexity and elegance. The seductive nose of the 2009 Southing exhibits fresh leather, rose water, black cherry, violets and hint of macerated cherry. The fine tannins and minerality are enhanced by our estate vineyard’s  characteristic cool climate acidity."

Bill's Cellartracker notes on this wine; "Wow, this has really hit its stride. Dark garnet color. Dark, sour cherry, smoke and a bit of pepper on the palate. Medium bodied with a dry, mineral finish. Apparently I have been drinking my Southing too early."

Auldbrass Plantation with Charles Osgood on CBS Sunday Morning