The 2009 Samantha Starr Pinot Noir is sourced from grapes grown in the Central Avenue Vineyards located in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA inside Monterey County, California. The winemaker is, I.C. Balderas who was the winemaker at Talbott Vineyards (which is just down the road from Central Avenue Vineyards). He produces a Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay under the Samantha Starr label, using premium grapes and classic winemaking methods while still delivering the wine at a reasonable price. I found this Pinot at an “end of bin” sale for $6.99 (Binny’s in the Chicago area) it had been selling for $13.99. The wine was aged in French oak barrels and the alcohol content is 14.2%.
The color is a mixture of scarlet and plum. The nose is red fruit, cherry and strawberry with the scent of new Band-Aids and mushroom. It starts with juicy cherries and plum and then the complicated Pinot Noir flavors kick in, tea, herbs, licorice, pencil shavings and blueberry fruit rollups. The mid palate softens thing up with a soothing dose of blackberry and vanilla cream. This Pinot has balance and length, there is a lot going on here and the wine gives your palate the time to experience it all. The finish lasts until you take the next sip.
My, my, my, when I walked into the wine shop today I never thought I would be walking out with a $6.99 excellent Pinot Noir. The Samantha Starr is very well made, nicely complicated and nuanced, while still being a yummy delicious wine, sometimes balanced wines balance the fun right out of the wine, the Samantha Starr Pinot Noir manages to be both interesting and fun.