Siduri Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands 2017

Medium ruby color; plum, raspberry, cranberry on the nose; Bing cherry, raspberry, cranberry, cocoa, spice on the palate.

Siduri Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands 2017

Dry; silky tannin; bright, balancing acidity (3.44 pH). Medium body. Another superb Siduri effort, and at a great price. There is some oak—nine months in neutral barrels. Grapes came from the North Coast fire vintage, but the large majority of the harvest was in and wine being made before the fires came. There is no smoke taint in this effort. Good depth and complexity; nicely long finish; 14.7% ABV.

Siduri is made by cult pinot noir winemaker Adam Lee. 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.

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), Adam 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.

Adam Lee and Dianna Novy

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 and opened a second tasting room in Healdsburg. There are two dozen or more individual labels in the Siduri pinot noir efforts, plus non-pinot offerings under the Novy label, which emphasize syrah and zinfandel.

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 2017 is delicious and full of rich red fruit flavor. Good complexity and depth for a pinot in this price range. Many Siduri pinots—and they make many—are bigger than this. This one wins by being less bombastic and that can be a good thing with pinot noir. Very, very nice effort from important pinot producer.

Pair with seafood—salmon, red snapper, swordfish; charcuterie; patés and terrines; French dishes with light creamy sauces; lamb; pork; mushrooms; mild cheeses. This also works as a solo sipper with neutral wine crackers during engaging conversations, or even sipped when you are alone with a good book or an engaging Netflix/HBO offering. Excellent value for price. $33-35

Sidrui website

Extended YouTube interview with Adam Lee

Video interview with Adam Lee

Video with Adam Lee

Siduri harvest, Santa Lucia Highlands
Siduri filling barrels