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Samuel Louis Smith - 'Sandstone Terrace' - Syrah - Santa Cruz Mountains, CA - 2022
Samuel Louis Smith - 'Sandstone Terrace' - Syrah - Santa Cruz Mountains, CA - 2022
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Load image into Gallery viewer, Samuel Louis Smith - 'Sandstone Terrace' - Syrah - Santa Cruz Mountains, CA - 2022

Samuel Louis Smith - 'Sandstone Terrace' - Syrah - Santa Cruz Mountains, CA - 2022

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Terroir Sandstone Terrace is a blend of primarily SCM cool-climate syrah sites with the common thread of sandstone-derived soils. In most vintages, it embodies the sexy, spicy, and floral side of the varietal. Average elevation of the 2022 vintage is 1450 ft. Nelson Vineyard (60%) is located in the Summit district of the SCM. The property was planted to chardonnay, pinot noir, and syrah in ‘99, after spending 30 years as a Christmas tree farm best known for silvertip firs, a variety that thrives at higher elevations. At 1700 ft, the vines growing in sandy loam and chunky sandstone are surrounded by redwoods and firs. The site benefits from cold, wet winters and cool to warm summers with deep diurnal shifts, great for ripening syrah while retaining high acidity. Organically farmed. Gali Vineyard (26%) is located in the Corralitos district of the southern SCM. At the low elevation of 400 ft and approximately seven miles from the ocean, this is one of the coldest sites in our lineup. Soils are clay loam weathered from sandstone and shale, formed on ancient submarine terraces. In conversion to organics. Coastview Vineyard (14%) is situated on a ridgetop 2300 ft up the Gabilan Mountains, and one of the most dramatically beautiful sites on the Central Coast. Here, thin soils of decomposed granite with veins of limestone are planted to a smattering of cool-climate Burgundian, Rhône, and Bordelais varietals. Organically farmed, it produces wines with crunchy freshness and elegant structure Tasting Deep purple. Blueberry, boysenberry, spring flowers, and cocoa powder are followed by smoked meat, purple fruits, and green peppercorn. Medium body and medium plus acid are supported by fine grained tannins. Tech Alcohol 13.2% pH 3.69 84% whole cluster fermentation Native fermentation started by a pied de cuve from the vineyard Ten months élévage in 21% second-fill and 79% neutral French oak barrels Eleven barrels • 264 cases produced Unfined & unfiltered



Samuel Louis Smith functions as a micro-négociant based in Salinas, California. Organic viticulture, mountainous sites, and minimal intervention in the cellar are tenets of the brand. SLS presents a compelling cross-section of the Central Coast, focusing on Sta. Rita Hills chardonnay, Monterey pinot noir, and Santa Cruz Mountains cool-climate syrah. The wines are made in a neoclassical style where light handling, wild fermentations, and stem inclusion in the reds create wines of place and purity, aroma and structure.

In the future, the core of SLS will be made with dirty fingernails and estate grown grapes. For now, Sam is dedicated to sourcing fruit from the most distinctive honestly- and sustainably-farmed vineyards. He is also head winemaker at the historic Morgan Winery, a pioneer of organic viticulture and traditional winemaking in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA.


Sam studied Economics, French, and Spanish at UC Santa Barbara. A nagging desire for wine knowledge and proximity to good surf led Sam to Bordeaux- the perfect place to spend a semester abroad. Coinciding with the iconic vintage of 2009, it opened his eyes to the world of haute cuisine and fine wine. Though somewhat reticent and cold, Sam’s Bordelaise host family ate and drank quite well; their pairing of confit de canard with ’89 Margaux on a cold Sunday afternoon in November still serves as an epiphanous moment for him.

Wine and everything it embodies are still the most cerebral and inspiring experience for Sam. Making pinot noir in the Willamette Valley and cool-climate syrah in the Northern Rhône, and cutting his teeth as assistant winemaker for Margerum Wine Company gave him the opportunities to find where his palate and California’s cool, mountainous Central Coast terroir converge.

Watercolor paintings, also found in black and white on the labels, are Sam’s originals.

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