San Saba Vineyards

2005 Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

California: Monterey County

Offer Expired:Mar 05, 2008 at 11:59 pm
Avg. Price

What We Say

If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Winery.

Limited Wine Alert!

San Saba gave us all of their remaining stock of this great wine. With only a few cases to sell today, be sure to make your purchase early.

Mission Codename: Pinot, the Lion Hearted

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Return to San Saba winery and return with the remainder of their well-reputed Pinot Noir

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: San Saba Vineyards

Wine Subject: 2005 San Saba Vineyards Pinot Noir

Winemaker: Sabrine Rodems and Jeff Ritchey


Last year we featured another great San Saba wine. It was very popular with our Operatives, so when they demanded a follow-on wine, Agent Red was dispatched to recover their Pinot Noir. He loved the wine and was able to get his hands on all of their remaining inventory.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Beautifully clear with pink and ruby hues in the center and pink at the edges, with long and widely spaced legs that creep down the glass

Smell – Deep and warm aromas of chocolate covered cherry, spice, gunpowder, a hint of red apple and softest earthen mushroom

Feel – Wet, smooth and very round. Slippery and pleasing with velvety tannins

Taste – Layers of all-over-the-mouth cherry, cassis and white plum, with mild spice, cedar and mildest dried meats

Finish – Long and lingering fruit and mild spice flavors with tannins that grip the top of the tongue and the lips

Conclusion – Once again San Saba and its winemaking team prove that superb wines are made in Monterey County. This Pinot is classic California, but with a special mouth-feel and flavor profile that stands out as a great Pinot Noir!

Wine and Winery Brief:

San Saba may be a smaller winery than its bigger neighbors, but that makes them no less of a great wine producer. In fact, their wines and their commitment to their craft reveal that they embody the spirit of the proud lions that are emblazoned on their bottles.

Think of San Saba like a little, undiscovered estate in Burgundy that is tucked between two Grand Cru vineyards. San Saba is sandwiched between the vineyards of Mer Soleil , Double L, Sleepy Hollow, Gary’s & Rosella’s Vineyards. To the north you’ll find another Mer Soleil vineyard and Pisoni vineyard. To the South Hahn Estates and Pariso. All in all, that’s some pretty great company to be in and San Saba holds their own against the best of these.

Monterey County is producing some remarkable wine champions and the climate at San Saba’s location is in what they describe as the perfect growing climate.

On a previous mission, I scoured the area for looking for great wines and happened upon San Saba almost by accident. Am I glad that I wandered into their tasting room that day as the entire crew there were great fun – and the wine tasting we did that day made me an instant convert to their wines.

Today’s offering is extremely limited. There are only [CENSORED] cases remaining and once we are sold out, you will never be able to get this wine again. San Saba gave us the last of this great Pinot Noir.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of San Saba Vineyards and tasting room can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

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Awards & Accolades:

Silver Medal – San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Monterey Wine Competition

87 Points – Wine Enthusiast – San Saba has been making a name for itself with mid-priced Monterey wines that show plenty of true varietal character. The price is creeping up, though. This is the most expensive wine from the winery I’ve ever reviewed. But it’s a solid Pinot, dry, silky and crisp, with polished cherry, cola, tea and spice flavors and a sweet, cocoa finish. — S.H. (5/1/2007)

Tasting Notes

This wine is a classic. Fruit with spice and a little meatiness makes this wine naturally complex. Violets in the nose and mouth contribute to its intricacy. Black cherry merges with white and black pepper to create a symphony of flavor. The finish is smooth but energetic with a hint of vanilla.

About This Vintage

One of the wettest winters was followed by a near perfect growing season. Temperatures were moderate throughout the entire spring and summer. A long, temperate fall with no rain allowed us to let clusters hang and develop to full ripeness. Harvest 2005 will be remembered for great yields and excellent quality. The two don’t often happen in the
same year.


The River Road Corridor in Monterey has gained a reputation as a great area for this grape and our vineyard, located in the center of this growing region, is no exception. Four clones of pinot noir were planted in the vineyard three years ago and this wine is the result of those new plantings. Yields on these new vines were tiny; around 1 ton per acre. We harvested clones 115 and 777. The lots were fermented separately in small bins and treated gently, caps were pushed down by hand. Each lot was placed in an assortment of new and neutral French oak barrels for 10 months before the final blending.

About San Saba

Located at the foot of the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey’s historic Salinas Valley, San Saba produces limited quantities of fine Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from our cool climate, 70-acre estate. Our San Saba label – we also produce wines under the Bocage label – features grapes from the best blocks on our property. Hand harvested, hand sorted, gently pressed and aged in the finest oak barrels, these wines are noteworthy for their structure, purity and intensity. San Saba was founded by Mark and Barbara Lemmon in 1975.

Technical Information

Vintage: 2005

Appellation: Monterey

Composition: 100% Pinot Noir; 65% Clone 115, 35% Clone 777

Oak: 55% new French oak; 45% neutral barrels – 10 months

Alcohol: 14.5%

pH: 3.79

TA: 0.49

Case Production: 215

Release Date: January 2007

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