2019 Samuel Louis Smith Montañita de Oro Pinot Noir
Grape: Pinot Noir
Region: Santa Cruz Mountains + Carmel Valley < CA
Vineyard/cellar stats: Organic, zero-input farming; both varietals picked early for freshness; 50% whole cluster fermentation; 10 months élévage in 30% new and 70% neutral French oak barrels; bottled unfined, unfiltered with minimal added So2; 228 cases / 13.1% ABV
Winemaker: Samuel Louis Smith
This wine is all about the pristine quality of the fruit, which comes from two pristine, organic mountain sites of Monterey County, the Pelio and Coastview vineyards. The legendary Coastview Vineyard, farmed by Father-Son duo John and Parker Allen, 2400 feet up the Santa Cruz mountains, with a view clear out to the Monterey Bay. John and Parker farm with only a small crew and a herd of 900 sheep (instead of mowers and herbicide). Pelio Vineyard is located next to Albatross Ridge, northwest of the Carmel Valley appellation of Monterey. At 1,000 feet and six miles from Monterey Bay, this site is truly on the edge of viticulture. Clay loam is littered with diatomaceous shale, evidence this area was under the sea until about 12 million years ago.
With ocean views and an average elevation of 1,700 ft, Montañita de Oro fruit presents a perfect combination of feminine lift and mountain structure. It smells gorgeous and earthy, like roses and cherries on a bed of rich, wet soil. The palate is light but plush and juicy, with classic Cali Pinot notes of bitter cherry, black raspberry and candied rose. Playful tannins dance with spice and cola notes on the long, satisfying finish. A special, celebratory wine from a super cool young producer focused on making old-school wines for a new generation of natural wine drinkers.