Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sea Smoke L.D. Sea Spray Sparkling Wine

Sea Smoke L.D. Sea Spray Sparkling Wine 2012
Sta. Rita Hills, California

I got some amazing news today! After more than two years of study (including 4 tasting exams, 5 theory exams, and 2 intense papers), I have finally gotten word that I am WSET Diploma Graduate! If that doesn't call for bubbles, I don't know what does!

Tonight I opened a gorgeous California sparkler from the Sta. Rita Hills AVA within the Santa Ynez region. Sea Smoke is known for some of the most exciting California Pinot Noir in the market, and their Blanc de Noirs certainly lives up to the hype.

This L.D. (late disgorged) bubbly is all about toast and autolysis. This wine spends time in oak (toast!), as well as extended time "sur lie" where it picks up deliciously rich bready, yeastiness (autolysis!) After the initial fermentation, the wine spends nine months ageing on the lees (spent yeast cells), and then another 24 months on the lees inside the bottle after the second fermentation prior to disgorgement. The wine is then treated with a zero dosage (no sugar) liqueur d'expedition, maintaining the wine's dry, zippy character. Sounds good to me -- let's taste!
Review: The Sea Spray is a pale salmon color with a finely beaded mousse and aromas of dried quince, toasted almonds, and fresh brioche. The palate is bone dry with amazingly bright acid, creamy bubbles, and a round texture. The flavor intensity is off the charts: toasted oak, toasty pastry, mineral, soft golden apples, and green plum. The finish is long and lingering. 

Food Pairing: Amazing by itself, but the Sea Spray would be a perfect match for fresh, sweet oysters.

Bottom Line: I don't have enough words for how much I love these bubbles. The texture, the rich flavors, the bright acid, the freshness. Just outstanding.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2012
  • PLACE: Santa Rita Hills AVA (American Viticultural Area)
  • GRAPE: Pinot Noir
  • BOOZE: 12%
  • AGEING: 9 months sur lie in barrel, 24 months sur lie in bottle
  • CELLAR: Drink through 2020

Where did I get it? 'Twas a Gift!
What's the damage? Super Premium

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