San Saba Vineyards
2006 Monterey Pinot Noir
California: Monterey County
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Mission Codename: The Heart of a Lion
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to San Saba Estate, in Monterey County, and raid the final supply of their outstanding 2006 Pinot Noir
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: San Saba Estate
Wine Subject: 2006 Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Sabrine Rodems
Backgrounder: Monterey County is emerging as a mecca for Pinot Noir. The Wine Spies have featured several Monterey County Pinots and every time, our Operatives have scooped them up enthusiastically. Today we mark our return to San Saba, where this delicious example is a delicious and robust expression of Monterey Pinot Noir. Be sure to read Agent Red’s tasting notes, Winemaker Debrief, and Mission Report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Gorgeous dark garnet, with glinting edges and a springy surface. When the wine settles after swirling, it leaves behind tight clusters of skinny legs that take a long time to emerge before they march steadily down the glass
Smell – Lush and deeply aromatic, with a rich and earthy medium-intensity. Leading with a rush of earthen cherry this wine then releases a cascade of dark chocolate, dried flowers, bramble, soft spice, cedar and vanilla
Feel – This wine starts soft and round, with a lovely wetness at the entry of the mouth – but then gradually digs in, showing off a medium body with a bright acidity and a touch of minerality
Taste – Beautifully integrated with flavors of dark cherry, smoky overripe raspberry and darkest blackberry. These all sit atop hints of soft spice, earthy forest floor and softest vanilla
Finish – This finishes very long, beginning soft and earthy, then rich and darkly fruity as the fruit lingers long after you sip, eventually revealing soft spice and a slate-like minerality
Conclusion – This is a richly delicious Pinot Noir with tons of character. With beautiful balance, this wine expresses the best qualities of Monterey Pinot Noir – while reminding me of lighter-styled French Burgundies. To be specific, this wine shows off classic California fruit while also delivering the more rich and earthen qualities of a Burgundy. Also present are the sort of bright acids that make this wine an exceptional food-pairing companion. I enjoyed my review bottle with a fantastic spicy Penne Aribiata and it was an excellent compliment. Great upon opening, I would recommend decanting the wine for at least 30 minutes for best results. This is your last chance to pick up this great wine at this or any price – so act fast, dear Operative!
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
About This Wine:
Richer and more complex than our first release, this wine still maintains a stylistic appeal that is classic French in its delicate balance of weight and flavor. The bouquet has dark chocolate covered cherries with touches of spice and cedar. Violets in the nose and mouth also contribute interest. Flavors of cherry fruit and a little meatiness make this wine intriguing. There’s a vibrancy that adds energy and brightness within the framework of a smooth texture.
Vintage: The 2006 growing season was one for the record books. Spring started with the most consecutive rainy days ever noted and growth was about a month behind until the Summer heat started. Then there were record high days with little cooling in the evening. The extended heat wave brought growth up to a normal schedule but Fall was so cool that the flavors took forever to develop and Harvest was the latest it has ever been, lasting unto mid-November.
Winemaking: The second release of San Saba Pinot Noir includes all four producing clones in our vineyard (115, 667, 777, and Pommard 4). Each lot was fermented separately in small bins and treated gently, caps were pushed down by hand. Closely monitored and minimally handled, finished batches were placed in an assortment of new and neutral French oak barrels for 9 months before
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.
Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Oak: 50% new French oak; 50% neutral barrels – 9 months
Case Production: 600
Release Date: January 2008