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Sea Smoke producer profile: The quiet evolution of an emblematic American Pinot

Named after the cooling blankets of fog that roll in from the Pacific, Sea Smoke is one of the leading producers of the Sta Rita Hills AVA. Anna Lee Iijima samples its 'unapologetically yummy' wines and the viticultural and winemaking changes taking place at the estate.

The California coastline may be synonymous with sunshine, but equally pervasive is the blanket of fog that unfurls from the sea most days. A consequence of cold wind sweeping over warm ocean currents, it’s a hauntingly beautiful phenomenon known as ‘sea smoke’.

Just a few hours’ drive from Los Angeles, the Sta Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County are a semi-desert region at the 34th latitude. An arid, southerly locale, ‘it’s a seemingly unlikely place to grow great Pinot Noir,’ says Victor Gallegos, general manager of Sea Smoke Estate Vineyards.

Yet, buoyed by sea smoke and the unique geography of Santa Barbara County, Sea Smoke Vineyards has helped establish the Sta Rita Hills AVA as one of America’s foremost Pinot Noir regions.


Scroll down to tasting notes and scores for Sea Smoke’s latest releases



Tasting notes for Sea Smoke:


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