Medium ruby color; cherry, cranberry, plum on the nose; plum sauce, black cherry, red berries, cranberry, menthol, cocoa on the palate.
Dry; rich and hearty in the mouth with concentrated, juicy fruit. Very fruit forward. Light tannins, some acidity. Tight on the pop-and-pour; significantly benefitted from decanting, becoming smoother and more integrated. The wine aged 10 months in 54% new French oak, so there is sweet oak and vanilla elements from initial attack through the nicely long finish; 14.7% ABV.
Siduri is a cult pinot noir from winemaker Adam Lee. He sources vineyards from the Willamette Valley in the Pacific Northwest to the Santa Rita Hills in California and strives to reflect the terroir of each vineyard, identified on each label.
There are two dozen or more individual labels included in the Siduri pinot noir efforts, plus non-pinot offerings under the Novy label, which emphasize syrah and zinfandel. This comes from Santa Lucia Highlands to the south of breezy Monterey Bay on California’s central coast (see link to video below).
The Siduri story began when Adam and his wife Dianna moved from Texas to California. In Texas, he was the wine buyer for Neiman Marcus and she worked in the epicure department. Adam came to California with hopes of being a wine writer. He and his wife put their savings into the adventure. They found a grape grower who sold them grapes from one acre of his vineyard.
The Lees nursed the vineyard, then produced four barrels of pinot noir. In a charming story available on a video on the Siduri website (worth watching), Lee recounts how he and Dianna drank a bit too much of the wine one night and recklessly left a bottle with the concierge at a hotel where Robert Parker was staying. As recounted in the video, they woke up next morning and asked “what have we done?” Not to worry. Parker loved the effort and ranked it among the highest pinots of the year. A business was born. And then it flourished. Texas kids make good on the Left Coast.
It did not end there. In 2015, Kendall-Jackson Family Estates acquired Siduri and the Lee’s non-pinot label, Novy. Lee remains the winemaker. Kendall-Jackson pushed new money into the operation—renovating the tasting room and other improvements. They opened a second tasting room in Healdsburg.
BTW, Siduri is the Sumerian goddess of wine. She welcomed the hero in the Epic of Gilgamish to a garden with its tree of life hung with ruby red fruits with tendrils. She is a wise female divinity associated with fermentation of both wine and beer. Her name means “young woman.”
Siduri Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands 2016 is big, rich, hearty, very fruit-forward. Don’t expect an etherial Oregon pinot—Siduri makes some of those, but this is not one. This is more muscular, fruit-forward California effort by a pinot noir wizard—the ABV alone is the tell in this card game. Pair with heavier seafood such as salmon, red snapper, swordfish; fish stew; pork chops and pork tenderloin; lamb; filet mignon and other refined red meats. $30-35