2013SamsaraPN2013 Samsara, Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills.
Chad Melville’s artisan handcrafted wines are worth searching out, especially his single vineyard Pinot Noir, Grenache and Syrah offerings, but the basic Santa Rita Hills Pinot should not be overlooked either, it is a stunning value and pleasure filled experience. It was great to sit down and catch up with the talented winemaker and get a chance to visit through most of his collection and hear his thoughts, Melville also puts his time in for his family estate, one of the premier wineries in the greater Santa Barbara area and beyond, but those wines are guided along by Greg Brewer of Brewer-Clifton, so Samsara is a very personal passion. The sandy soils, cool climate and beauty of the Sta. Rita Hills shine through in the Samsara wines, and Chad’s winemaking is very different than the wines of Melville, Chad uses only native/natural fermentations, very slow basket pressing and partial whole cluster/stem inclusion which highlight the bright vibrant flavors and spicy elements, these micro batch wines are raw, transparent and vivid expressions of terroir. The longer elevage in the Syrah and single vineyard Pinot Noir selections have worked wonders with the 2011 vintage, they are some of the finest examples I’ve tasted, they might be the best 2011’s I’ve tried, and from such a difficult year they are gorgeous, in particular look for both Melville Vineyard Pinot Noir and Syrah, Los Hermanas Pinot Noir and Larner Grenache, they are all fantastic, plus the 2012 Rancho la Vina Pinot is rocking good too. The 2013 Samsara Santa Rita Hills Pinot is a gem, beautifully detailed, opulently lush and complex with wild flowers, heady perfumed bouquet, strawberry, plum and sweet cherry fruit along with red tea, cinnamon stick, pomegranate and fleshy red peach note. This wine is a huge success, I adored the 2012, but I find the 2013 even more divine with tons of character already, the rich palate is held in place with juicy acidity, precise tannins and a hint of wood framing. This wine is just getting started and certainly with entertain for years to come, it’s plush red fruits, savory/mineral tones, tangy anise, saline, cayenne and sexy mouth feel make this a do not miss wine, drink from 2015 to 2020, this is another stellar set of wines from Samsara, very impressive across the board and seductive to say the least.
($32 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive

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