Sun 30 Oct 2011
Sequana Vineyards produces only pinot noir wines from Russian River Valley, in Sonoma County, and Santa Lucia Highlands, in Monterey County. These are elegant pinots that eloquently express the marriage of delicacy and grace with resonance and power. Winemaker is James MacPhail. The winery is part of the Hess Family Estates.
These wines were samples for review.
The color of the Sequana Pinot Noir 2009, Santa Lucia Highlands, is a lovely, limpid medium ruby hue; lovely, too, is the sense of classic balance, tone and integration represented by a seamless amalgam of smoky red and black cherries and red and black currants with hints of rhubarb, cola and cloves, all consistent in nose and mouth, where an ultra-satiny texture is buoyed by pert acidity. The wine aged nine months in French oak, 40 percent new barrels, a process that contributed spice and suppleness to the package. Irresistible. You could drink this pinot noir all day; actually, I think I did. 13.9 percent alcohol. 6,202 cases. Now through 2012 or ’13. Very Good+. About $32.
The Sequana Pinot Noir 2009, Russian River Valley, is a little knottier than its cousin from Santa Lucia Highlands, denser and spicier, with more earthy and mineral elements; this is warm and attractive, like plum coffee cake with touches of rose petals and violets, a hint of leather and sassafras, black and red cherries. There’s a bit more tannic grip here; the wine is slightly less gorgeous than the model from Santa Lucia Highlands, yet with its briery-brambly aspects and some dark graphite-like minerality and depth, it also feels more grown-up. It aged 11 months in French oak, 40 percent new barrels. 13.9 percent alcohol. 2,350 cases. Drink now through 2013 or ’14. Excellent. About $38.
We expect a certain amount of character from a single-vineyard wine, else why make the wine at all and promote it as such? The Sequana Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir 2009, Green Valley of Russian River Valley, delivers. The wine is quite intense, dense, pure, even a bit grave; it calls forth the whole panoply of potpourri, dried baking spices (with an extensive into the exotic, like sandalwood and sassafras), fresh and dried floral elements, and fresh and dried red and black fruit qualities, all ensconced in a super-satiny texture enlivened with ringing acidity that cuts a swath on the palate. A backbone of tannin, slightly dusty and granite-flecked, keeps this pinot noir firmly in place. The wine aged nine months in French oak, 40 percent new barrels. 13.8 percent alcohol. 514 cases were produced. Drink now through 2014 or ’15. Excellent. About $45.