Medium ruby color; black cherry, redcurrant, raspberry, spice, whiff of smoke from barely smoldering forest floor on the nose; black cherry, blackberry, blueberry, licorice, earthiness on the palate.
Dry; well-structured, tasty tannin; balancing acidity. Rich, smooth, fresh. Vibrant through an extended finish that brings some exotic drama. Medium body with layers of flavor. Grapes came from two different sites; 20% fermented with stems to add intrigue and touch of bite. Aged 15 months in 30% new oak, so oak is there but frames the quality fruit rather than competes. This really shines on the extended finish, where phenolic sense of sweetness makes an unexpected and pleasuring appearance; 14.5% 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 (department dedicated to refined tastes, especially in food and wine). 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 a single 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.
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 Yamhill-Carlton 2016 is lush and long, with tastes of black cherry, blackberry, and blueberry playing tag team. Impressive, beautiful. While 14.5% ABV, the seductive, hedonistic fruit tango of the attack and mid-palate hides the heat. After the foreplay of dark red and blue fruits, the alcohol coyly reveals in the very long finish. You easily can enjoy this as a cocktail, solo pour, or matched with neutral wine crackers and cured-meat-centered charcuterie board. For food pairing, go with turkey, baked chicken, salmon, pork tenderloin, slow-cooked lamb chops, lighter cuts of beef, veal. $32-40