While doing a reorganization of our wine cellar, we noticed a few bottles of W.H.Smith Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast Maritime Vineyard 2003) that got “lost” somehow – shoved to the back to make room for newer vintages of our favorite pinots.  We forgot how great the W.H. Smith wines can be – and were worried that this wine might be past its prime.
To our delight, we found out why W.H. Smith has many followers – the 2003 Sonoma Coast Maritime rose to a 97 on the Wine Spectator scale, and for good reason.  To quote Wine Spectator, “A gorgeous wine, rich, smooth and seamless, with layers of complex creamy cherry, wild berry and plum shaded by mocha-laced oak that is neatly integrated. The tannins are ripe and supple, the aftertaste fascinating.”  This wine was even better than that description.  This beauty indeed had all the red berry aspects of a great pinot, but was refined and subtle.  The aging drew out the best part of the oak, and the tannins were subdued.  We drank this wine with a nice piece of grilled halibut, using a leek/pancetta sauce along with a spring pea risotto.  We’ve seen the 2007 and 2008 vintages at $55 to $75, which is comparable with other high-end CA pinot noirs.
We will post more on W.H Smith wines in the near future as we open some bottles from other vintages.

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