2015 LaMontagne Pinot Noir, Quinta del Mar Vineyard, San Luis Obispo County
Aromas of black and red cherries, with subtle notes of black olive and thyme. On the palate, it is rounded and elegant with exciting freshness. This wine is quintessential Pinot Noir from the nose to the finish. It’s a pleasure and joy to drink!
“Due to its cool maritime influence and personality, SLO’s wines have a natural and energetic balance of acidity, complexity, and freshness. This seaside destination – which once was one of California’s best-kept secrets – is catching on throughout the world.” - Decanter
San Luis Obispo County is benefited from a cool climate with coastal influence (due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean). This place is home to one of the longest wine-growing seasons and this results in crispy, juicy, and elegant Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.
Kimberly Smith, owner, and winemaker of LaMontagne is a visionary and passionate businesswoman; her great love for Pinot Noir was what led her to the tireless search of discovering how to produce the best wines from this grape. In 2006, she began to plot her dream with the help of her mentor, winemaker Wes Hagen. Hagen was named in 2013 as “One of the 100 most influential winemakers in the USA” according to Decanter. Currently, Kimberly works hand in hand with her son Alec, who despite his young age, has been a key person in the development of the winery; he has had the opportunity to be involved in the process since the start of LaMontagne. Together, they’re producing award-winning Pinots and Chardonnays.
Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir, Clone 115
Appellation: San Luis Obispo County
3x 2015 LaMontagne Pinot Noir, Quinta del Mar Vineyard, San Luis Obispo County
12x 2015 LaMontagne Pinot Noir, Quinta del Mar Vineyard, San Luis Obispo County
Our family name is LaMontagne, meaning “the mountain” and appropriately describes our quest to produce wines of exceptional quality that represent the vintage and the place in which they were grown.
Owner Kimberly Smith is driven, and puts all her passion and drive into her wines. She is business educated and has been a foodie all her life while raising 5 children and being a partner to her husband in marriage and business. In 2006 she decided to return to college and take courses to answer her question concerning her love of Pinot Noir and why she regularly spent $50 a bottle on what she loves. The classes she took led her to a very important night. That evening she went to an after-hour meet and greet with speaker Wes Hagen, and knew right away that she needed him to teach her the hands-on part of making Pinot Noir. She introduced herself and asked if he would mentor her, he said yes, and she was in the winery by 8 AM the next morning!
Her first vintage went into barrel in 2010, Clos Pepe Vineyard; single designate vineyard. Small as the vintage was it turned into something great. Her practice is to keep her wine in barrel till the wine sings. All Vintages are in barrel for 18 months and have grown in production each year.
Her love and desire to produce single vineyard designate of small lots has passed to her son Alec who was 13 years old when he was being homeschooled and learned to make wine with Wes Hagen. He now has been making wine with his mom ever since. Together we produce small lots of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, from Sta. Rita Hills, as well as a variety of other varietals from Sta. Rita Hills up to Paso Robles.
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I’m very happy to be reporting in as a Lab Rat for tonight’s offer. I recruited a friend to have another person’s opinion and we used a De Long tasting note sheet as a framework to form the following notes.
Color depth: Between medium and deep
Color hue: Garnet
Aroma intensity: Aromatic
Aromas: a little funky earthy/vegetal, black pepper, oak, strawberry jam.
Dry/Sweet: Definitely dry, but a little bit of perceived sweetness from the fruit.
Tannins: Medium and round.
Flavor intensity: Flavorful
Flavors: Black cherry, cola, strawberry, raspberry, black pepper.
Conclusion: We both really enjoyed this Pinot. The fruit initially gives a little bit of perceived sweetness, but then the spice element (black pepper?) and acidity kick in to add additional layers and complexity. This wine is versatile. It can be enjoyed on its own, but also does well with food. On a scale of 1 to 5, my friend gave it a 5. He said this is a wine he’d definitely like to have again. I enjoyed it, but perhaps I’m just not as generous since I’m giving it a 4.
Day three update:
I meant to revisit this on day two, but I got sidetracked with other things. On day three the wine was nowhere near as aromatic. On the palate, it was much softer as well.
Day four update:
I’m having what’s left of the bottle (half a glass) as I write this review and it’s gotten a bit flabby. It still has decent flavor, but it was MUCH more enjoyable on day one. In my opinion, this wine is likely at or near its peak and I don’t think any additional aging would benefit it.
I’d say this definitely has it. My friend has yet to go in on a Casemates offer with me and this offer might be the one that changes that. However, I’m on a strict SIWBM so the order might just end up being a 3-pack on behalf of my buddy since he REALLY enjoyed this wine.
Many thanks to LaMontagne, @winedavid49 , @wccwinegirl and the entire Casemates crew for all the work you do. It is always much appreciated, and so is the opportunity to be a Lab Rat. Cheers!
@kawichris650 nice review!
When you say “crisp” acidity, does it come through as tart? Or sour? I’m not a fan of tart reds, but love a good Pinot…everything else about your review makes me want to buy this!
Here’s a screenshot of the De Long tasting note sheet. Sorry if the resolution is a little blurry, but hopefully it helps provide some insight.
On the scale for acidity, crisp is one step down from tart. I wouldn’t describe this as a sour cherry bomb on the palate, like other Pinots I’ve had. This is nicely balanced and I think the age contributes to that. Being a 2015, it’s in a good spot and ready for consumption.
I just got my case delivered, it’s 95’ outside. I will try to cool them off as quickly as I can but what’s the thought on buying cases during the horrible heat of summer? Do/don’t do it? Casemates doesn’t expedite or ship with cool packs ( though their customer support said they did!). Just wondering…
@eminnick 95 degrees outside doesn’t make wine 95 degrees inside a shipper. How warm we’re the actual bottles and the liquid in them? Sometimes the neck can get warm but the bulk stays cool.
Thermodynamics and all…