Special Tasting of La Montagne with Kimberly Smith

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Special Tasting of La Montagne with Kimberly Smith

Postby Phil_Carpenter » Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:17 pm

I realize I haven't posted much. Main reason is my wife received a job promotion and we are moving to Oxford, UK. We are very excited for this move...but I've been in logistical hell for numerous months now. It's amazing all the hoops you have to jump through. On what was supposed to be our last weekend up to Santa Barbara before the move (don't get me started on this subject)...I finally met with Kimberly Smith.

Kimberly has been in touch with me for months on trying her wines. Due to schedule conflicts, we just haven't been able to meet. But we finally got together on a Sunday morning at her house. It was a typical overcast Lompoc morning when I pulled up to Kimberly's house. Overcast...cool...and always beautiful. Kimberly's dining room table was set with stems and numerous snacks. And an eclectic surprise of guests.

I've known of Kimberly's wines...I knew she worked with Santa Rita Hills legend, Wes Hagen. I had heard they were good...but I didn't know what to expect. The few times I've hung out with Kimberly, was in big group settings, or at winemaker dinners. When I spoke with her, she seemed to be, "the life of the party" and charismatic. I really didn't know if the wines were going to big and bold, like the personality I experienced when hanging out with her, or restrained like the wines she learned how to make with Wes.

Kimberly poured two whites...2011 & 2012 Sierra Madre Pinot Blanc. I admit, I'm not a very experienced Pinot Blanc drinker. But the ones I've liked have been delicate, with flowers and minerality. Both were mouth watering...for my palate. High acid, fresh green apple, perfumy with gravel on finish. I was impressed. Starting off on a great foot.

2012 Pinot Blanc
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Next up were the pinots.

Pinots & Tempranillo
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2011 Pinot Noir, Sierra Madre, Santa Barbara County AVA
Look, I'm a self-admitted whore for the Santa Rita Hills...but this one touched me in special place. A very delicate interpretation of Santa Maria. Typical Santa Maria spice...but man, the acid and minerality were CRAZY! Nice loam...but the salinity was key for me here. Felt like I was breathing in sea air at some point.

2011 Pinot Noir, Huber Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills AVA, Clone 115
I have always loved this vineyard...mainly because I'm a very big fan of the folks that own the site (Norm and Traudl Huber). I really liked this wine, but was tad riper, with darker cherry and clove. Still loved it though.

2010 Pinot Noir, Clos Pepe Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills AVA
This one has been sold out for a while but Kimberly was nice enough to open one. Just pinnacle wine from a pinnacle source. Beautiful hints of spice, loam, with blue and red fruit exploding on nose and palate. Just yummy.

The Clos
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Last up was...

2011 Tempranillo, Bella Collina vineyard, Paso Robles AVA
Probably the most restrained and delicate domestic Tempranillo I've had. Great fruit...but nice acid.

Kimberly's wines were very impressive. They are falling in the place my palate is at right now. Kimberly said numerous times, and I paraphrase, makes wines she likes to drink. Well, they are the same wines I like to drink.

Kimberly is going to be moving into the tasting room next to Arcadian/Bratcher in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto. This will be a nice nook of wine for acid seekers. Kimberly showed her heart on her sleeve during the tasting. Showing her immense excitement for things ahead...but also showing nervousness over reception of wines, opening a tasting room, and being a one woman show. I gotta say, with wine like this, she should be just fine. If you are going to the Santa Rita Hills WIne & Fire tasting, please seek them out.

Added bonus of the tasting was hanging out with John Loewen, a legend in the Santa Barbara wine scene. One thing I think I do well...knowing when to shut up and listen to the experiences of others. John really taught me a lot. Thank you!

Kimberly & John
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