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Smith Story Lakota's View Semillon 2016
Smith Story Wine Cellars crafts wines that are made with respect for the land, kindness for the grower, and love from the winemaker. Each vineyard Smith Story works with is family-owned as a central tenet; the founders believe firmly that the integrity of the vines can only be ensured by grape growers who safeguard the land for the next generation. The resulting wines have heart and soul. They show restraint, balance and the integrity of the grape. Eric and Ali's winemaking philosophy is to utilize classic, old world techniques and let the grapes - and sense of place where they are grown - speak for themselves.
In 2013, Eric Story and Ali Smith Story co-founded Russian River Valley-based Smith Story Wine Cellars out of a desire to make the kind of wine that “wine people” drink. Both came from wine industry backgrounds, and their palates remain well attuned to both the sublime and the delicious – at every price. They dreamed of starting a wine project that could produce wines that were both attractive and approachable…but that wouldn’t require a savant to enjoy them.
Working on a wine-industry budget, the duo tapped into the support of their extensive networks, successfully launching Smith Story Wine Cellars on Kickstarter in 2014. 3 Their campaign was called “Farmers First,” and the very first American winery to be crowdfunded was born. Today the winery produces over 4,000 cases annually and has been called “one of California’s top emerging wineries.” The wines begin with the land, places that are special to Eric and Ali in Northern California, from twelve family owned vineyards throughout Sonoma Valley, Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley, Knights Valley, Pine Mountain, Anderson Valley and the Rheingau region of Germany. As the vineyard program grows, so will their story.
Defined more by altitude than geographical outline, the Sonoma Mountain appellation occupies elevations between 400 and 1,200 feet on the northern and eastern slopes of the actual Sonoma Mountain and is part of the greater Sonoma Valley appellation. The mountain reaches 2,400 feet, its hills separating the cooling winds of Petaluma Gap from the Sonoma Valley.
On a cooler western flank, Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Syrah enjoy a great deal of success. Vineyards on its warmer, eastern side, interspersed with heavily forested areas, tend to include Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, and Syrah. Given its complexity of topography and mesoclimates, Sonoma Mountain excels with a wide range of grape varieties.
An unassuming but noble variety capable of wines with considerable structure, depth and length, Sémillon is an uncompromising white variety with the power to create wines that improve for several decades. It is the perfect partner to the aromatic and vivid Sauvignon Blanc; the two are most commonly found blended in their home region of Bordeaux. Sémillon especially shines in Sauternes, one of the world’s greatest sweet wines, with highly concentrated flavors of honey and dried apricots. While Sémillon is not the most fashionable grape in the rest of the wine world, it enjoys great success in Australia's Hunter Valley, where it can produce elegant, complex dry wines with aging potential.
In the Glass
Sémillon is most notable for its smooth texture and significant palate weight. In youthful dry wines, it expresses subtle aromas of lemon, green apple, pear and stone fruit. Aged or sweet Sémillon wines show more complex characters of lanolin, beeswax, honeysuckle, ginger, saffron, vanilla or toast.
Thanks to its moderate acidity, this fairly full-bodied wine can stand up to pretty boldly flavored food. Think lightly spiced Asian or Indian white meat or fish dishes, or anything with cinnamon, clove, or star anise. It’s also great with autumnal vegetables like kabocha squash, yam or potato. Botrytised Sémillon, as in Sauternes, is a perfectly decadent pairing with foie gras.
Sémillon was once the most common variety in South Africa—so common, in fact, that in 1822, when 93% of the country’s vineyard area was planted with it, it was simply referred to as Wyndruif, or “wine grape.”