Well, folks, you know you are a “groupie” of something, anything, when J.A.M. get into a car with two sip ‘n snack friends and follow these directions:
“From Highway 101 northbound, take the second Buellton Exit (Highway 246). Head WEST on Highway 246 for 6.1 miles and make a left turn on Mail Road. Follow Mail Road until it ends in a cul-de-sac with two sliding gates and a sign which reads Rancho Chahuchu.”
But, I will be darned if we were not in one of the most beautiful places on the planet!!! I started to write about this special place just north of Los Angeles, but decided the Sea Smoke website says it all:
“Our estate vineyard is located in the world’s southernmost – and sunniest – Region 1microclimate, which has the coolest temperatures for grape growing. The Pacific Ocean fog funnels across our hillsides each afternoon, creating ideal growing conditions.”
God most definitely finely sliced this little funnel of Heaven on Earth to ensure Pinot Noir grapes – and excellent Chardonnay – could be grown for a journey to an one of the world’s greatest Pinot Noir wines!
Victor, the general manager and director of winemaking at Sea Smoke, met us at the estate. We immediately followed him up the hill to the unexpected “mansion” and “sunning platform” of the owner. Can you say simple? Yup. And why not? One does not want to spend too much time indoors when the stunning Sea Smoke valley and vines offer ambience better than any Michelin 3 Star restaurant.
Of equal importance, Victor had a bottle popped open for us to sip and salivate at the stunning scenery.
Hospitality, folks, hospitality!!!
We then followed Victor to, well, Lompoc, which is better known for an air force base, large prison and, well, a “wine ghetto”.
Yes, Lompoc’s Wine Ghetto is, well, an ugly group of warehouses in an industrial park abutting a private airstrip. With more than 20 wineries / tasting rooms, this is a brilliant – if far from beautiful – place to learn about some of the best wines available in the Central Coast.
Sea Smoke is one of them.
Once you get past the steel, the Sea Smoke winery and tasting room is stunning! A to Z luvly.
Victor toured us around the facility where no expense was spared and then opened several bottles of some of the best Pinot Noirs on the planet.
We prefer the Ten, but have grown to love the Southing. Sadly, the Botella, which is well-made and meets the definition of the type of wine Victor wanted to make, is not for us. We can only sip so much. Ten or Southing will do nicely, thanks!
Photos speak to why you want to visit Sea Smoke and hope against all hopes to get a valued spot on their mailing list.
In recent years, we have been privileged to obtain some of Sea Smoke’s Sea Spray and Chardonnay.
When visiting Frogs think they are sipping an exceptional, Pinot Noir led champagne or a nice, Chassagne-Montrachet style Chardonnay – but each bottle hails from the Lompoc Wine Ghetto – well you know you have arrived.
These wines do NOT suck!