Wow - what a pinot. Still incredibly primal, but oh so delicious - big cherry flavors and a nose that is rich but somehow still earthy, with notes of cola, bitter chocolate, and earth that is reminiscent of Oregon or Sonoma pinot. But the fruit is the giveaway here - big and red and very Central Coast and maybe not quite integrated just yet, but it'll get there. Give this one some time in the decanter if you open it now, or wait a year (or more) and then give it a ride. I think you've got 5 or more years until this hits its peak, and then a while after that before you have to worry about missing the window. But, really, who can wait that long?
Pinot Noir from the highly regarded Santa Rita Hills appellation (apparently the only east-west oriented valleys in California's central coast, Sea Smoke has attained something of a "mini cult" status, with all of the available the wines allocated to mailing list members, a select group of restaurants, and (possibly) a chosen group of wine stores. Botella is the "low end" bottling, but often in greater demand than its higher-priced siblings Southing and Ten.
According to winery notes, "the 2005 Sea Smoke Botella Pinot Noir expresses lovely, elevated fruit tones with well balanced acidity and tannins. This wine is lively on the palate, with a long crisp finish."
Winery pricing for the Botella has nearly doubled since its initial release. I don't have data for the 2001 vintage, but the 2002 vintage was offered for $25/bottle. The 2003 vintage was priced at $26/bottle, and the 2004 vintage sold for $28/bottle. For the 2005 vintage, the price jumped to $39/bottle, where it stayed for the 2006 vintage as well.
Keep in mind that this is winery pricing - because Sea Smoke wines are "highly allocated" (i.e., hard to buy directly from the winery), there has always been a strong secondary market in their wines, and it's not uncommon to see a bottle of Botella (regardless of vintage) fetch $100 or more from anyone who has them to sell. Check out winezap.com or wine-searcher.com for current pricing and ...