Coastview Vineyard, situated on a ridgetop 2,300 feet up the Gabilan Mountains, is one of the most dramatically beautiful sites on the Central Coast. Here, thin soils of decomposed granite with veins of limestone are planted to chardonnay, pinot noir, grenache, and of course syrah. Organically farmed.
Granite has proven itself as one of the greatest soils for syrah, from the slopes of southern Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage, to Saint-Joseph and Cornas. This wine is an homage to some of the great sans soufre (no added sulfur) wines of Balthazar and Allemand in Cornas. Similar to these classic examples, the ’20 SLS Coastview Syrah is immediately pleasureable and elegantly structured, while the wild and rustic sauvage character will certainly develop with time.
Dark purple and and medium-full bodied. Brambleberry, graphite, and smoked meat dominate the nose, while crème de violette and black fruits follow on the palate.
100% whole cluster fermentation
Native primary and secondary fermentations
10 months élévage in 50% second-fill and 50% neutral French oak barrels
Two barrels • 46 cases produced
Unfined, unfiltered, no added sulfur
The Coastview Vineyard is located in the Gabilan Mountains on the east side of the Salinas Valley, on an exposed ridge top between 2200 and 2400 feet of elevation. Just under 30 acres of this convoluted 2600 acre property are under vine with plantings of Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cinq Cepage of Bordeaux varietals. It is a testament to the vineyard that it can ripen such different varietals in a consistent and exceptional manner.
The Vineyard is a dramatic site that offers a panorama of surrounding mountains, valleys and coastline. We farm this vineyard with a focus on sustainability and low impact to maximize its ability to express terroir. Pygmy Sheep graze the native grasses in and around the Vineyard. Water to sustain the vines through the dry summer months is sequestered from artesian springs in lined ponds.
The Vineyard soils are shallow and low vigor with layers of decomposed granite, substantial limestone component and thin top soils. The cooling breeze blowing in off the Monterey Bay moderates the warm days with cool night temperatures. This exposed ridge top vineyard has in abundant, unencumbered sunlight, driving even and consistent ripening. The warm days and cool nights allow for long hang times that result in perfect conditions for ripe fruit flavors and elegant acidity.
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.