At SAMsARA, they believe that all of the important work should be done in the vineyard, with little handling or manipulation of the fruit once it reaches the winery. Winegrowing at SAMsARA starts with selecting special sections within each vineyard where soils, altitudes, slopes, and elevations will bring the best out of the vine. With each section, the aim is to have “healthy vines in extreme conditions”. As there is a direct, inverse relationship between the quantity of grapes a vine produces and their quality, all of the SAMsARA sections are purchased by the acre – SAMsARA pays the same price no matter how little fruit is produced.
Optimal winegrowing begins with soil management & Springtime irrigation to ensure that vines have the nutrients and water they need to grow. Once flowering occurs in mid-summer, irrigation is stopped, forcing the vines to stop growing and focus on ripening their fruit. Leaves are removed by hand, exposing the grapes and their stems to sunlight, and moving air through the canopy. Grape clusters are then thinned by hand, further increasing the intensity of the remaining fruit.
Las Hermanas Vineyard sits to the west of the Melville Estate Vineyard, just 8 miles from the ocean. It is planted on over six different soil types. SAMsARA’s four rows of clone 115 Pinot Noir are located towards the top of the vineyard, where it is well-drained and aggressively sloped.
The Sta. Rita Hills AVA is significantly impacted by its proximity to the ocean (10 miles), consistent morning/evening fog, and steady afternoon winds. These cooling trends are not only perfectly suited to growing Pinot Noir, Grenache, and Syrah, but also serve to prolong the growing season, allowing for heightened varietal flavor intensity. Additionally, the area’s cool climate and vineyards’ calcareous rock and sand help produce grapes with natural acidity and flavor balance.
Grapes were hand-harvested from Las Hermanas Vineyard from the same 12 rows of sandy soil. 50% whole cluster fermentation in small lots of 2 tons. Native yeast was used that the grapes carried from the vineyards to complete the fermentation. They hand punched each fermenter twice a day to enhance the extraction of colors, tannins, and flavors. After primary fermentation was complete there was extended maceration for up to 30-35 days to further extract color, tannins, and flavor. The juice was then aged in 25% new French oak for 22 months prior to bottling, no fining or filtering with two rackings before bottling. The wine then saw another year in bottle prior to releasing.
This wine is all about minerality and energy. It shows fabulous textural richness in its dark red fruit. This is a very complete and promising wine that leans more on the savory side than the fruit side.