A 50/50 blend of two personalities of syrah: the extremely cool-climate and coastal _Gali Vineyard_, and the warmer, high elevation _Zayante vineyard_. These components come together to exude the spicy, floral, and feminine side of syrah.
Gali is located in the Corralitos sub-district of the southern Santa Cruz Mountains. At the low elevation of 400 feet and approximately six miles from the ocean, this is one of the coolest sites in our lineup. Soils are clay loam weathered from sandstone and shale, formed on ancient submarine terraces. No herbicides are used here and watering is quite minimal.
Zayante sits at 1,200 feet on the ocean side of the central Santa Cruz Montains, and was planted in 1988 by Greg Nolton. Own-rooted, dry-farmed, and certified organic, this is a true mountain site. Soils are Lompico clay loam- material that was weathered from sandstone, shale, conglomerate, and granodiorite.
Deep magenta and medium bodied. Aromas of red plum, leafy herbs, pepper, and candied violet are supported by asian five spice, potpoourri, and purple fruits on the palate.
85% whole cluster fermentation
Native primary and secondary fermentations
10 months élévage in 10% second-fill and 90% neutral French oak barrels
Ten barrels • 239 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.