Wine Time

Dennis Sodomka is a guest columnist | Contact Dennis

Wine Time: Sequana Pinot Noir, Sundawg Ridge Vineyard

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PRICE: $50

WHAT: Sequana continues to impress with their Pinot Noir. The Sundawg Ridge is over the top, an outstanding wine.

The wines produced from single vineyards, such as this one, show pronounced differences, as they reflect the area where they are grown. Sundawg Ridge is in the Green Valley of the Russian River Valley. The grapes are planted on slopes with ancient sandstone marine terraces.

They also get doses of morning and evening fog, making for a cool growing season. That’s ideal for Pinot Noir, and allows the grapes to ripen slowly and fully. After cold-soaking and extended maceration, the wine spends 11 months on new French oak.

The wine is silky and seductive, with layers of flavor, especially red cherry and wild berries with a hint of black pepper. The finish is long and smooth.

Sundawg Ridge is a great wine for a holiday splurge. The grapes get a lot of extra care and attention, and that pays off in a spectacular wine.

I would serve this slightly chilled. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes, or if it is in the refrigerator longer, let it sit out for about 30 minutes.

WINERY: Sequana is part of the Hess Collection, founded on Donald Hess’ belief that great wines come from vineyards of distinction. Sequana’s first vintage was 2007, and it was Hess’s first venture into Pinot Noir.

The company decided to produce estate-grown wines bottled as single vineyard designates. Winemaker James MacPhail approaches the grapes from each Sequana vineyard differently, letting the vines tell their own story. Artisan techniques such as hand-sorting, cold-soaking and extended maceration, along with aging sur lie in French oak capture this simple notion: the wine recalls where it comes from. Each Pinot Noir produced is unique. Sequana also produces a Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands and the Dutton Ranch.

The name Sequana comes from the Franco-Roman goddess of the River Seine, which flows through the ancestral birthplace of Pinot Noir.

The Hess Collection was founded by Swiss entrepreneur Donald Hess, who first purchased vineyards on Mount Veeder in 1978. The winery is best known for its flagship Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines, and single vineyard designates from estate vineyards in Napa Valley, such as the Allomi Cab. The company also owns wineries in Australia, South Africa and Argentina.

Located in a historic stone winery constructed in 1903, the winery first opened to the public in 1989. It since has earned international recognition for its wine, culinary and visitor programs, and provides free public access to Donald Hess’ extensive private contemporary Art Museum.

GOES WITH: This wine will pair well with a variety of food, from seafood to beef. I tried it with steamed shrimp, which I didn’t think would be an ideal pairing, but it was great. I also tried it with Havarti and jack cheeses, and they paired nicely. It would go well with game, chicken, beef, lamb or duck.

WINE EVENTS

DEC. 15
Wine and tapas tasting,
5 p.m., Veritas at La Maison on Telfair, 404 Telfair St.; four wines, three tapas; $19.99
Wine tasting,
5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; six wines, cheeses; $5, with $3 rebate on purchase of featured wine

DEC. 16
Wine tasting,
4:30-6:30 p.m., The Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; port and dessert wines; (706) 922-9463

DEC. 17
Wine tasting,
1-6 p.m., The Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; port and dessert wines; (706) 922-9463


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