By: Scott Morris
During my recent visit to Napa Valley, I had the pleasure of visiting Starmont Winery & Vineyard in the Carneros wine region. The winery and tasting room, is located in the midst of the famous Stanly Ranch Estate vineyard. The tasting room has an inviting entrance, with the vineyard as a backdrop and an outdoor patio area where you can sit and enjoy the surroundings, friends, and wine.
Starmont is member of the Napa Sustainable Winegrowing Group and is a state-of-the-art, certified “green” winery. Their sustainable processes include recycling 100% of winery process water for irrigation and landscaping, composting, diverting over 98% of waste away from landfills, cover cropping, using bird boxes, and generating enough clean energy from their solar panel array each day to power over 250 homes.
Prior to arrival I had already been exposed to some of the great wines coming from the Carneros region. This was knowledge gained from a tasting of Trinitas Cellars wines earlier in the day, where I learned that Starmont Winery is actually the production site for Trinitas.
Carneros is well known for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Starmont started as a single wine, Chardonnay, under the mature Merryvale portfolio where it existed for fifteen years. Starmont then evolved into its own brand and now produces Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé wines.
Upon arrival at Starmont, Andrew De Petro was very inviting and helpful. He was quick to introduce me to the wines, and took time to discuss the vineyards and wines with me. The majority of their wines come from the Carneros region, although they have several with grapes sourced from other vineyards within and outside Napa Valley. There are a few wines I tried that day I’m delighted to highlight.
- 2014 Chardonnay, Stanly Ranch Estate
Being in a wine region renowned for its Chardonnay, and me being a big fan, this was the first one I tried. It is a medium bodied wine with medium acidity. It has aromas of apple, citrus, and vanilla, and flavors of apples, pears, and citrus. This Chardonnay is aged in 25% new French Oak for 18 months, and fermented in a combination of traditional barrel and stainless steel tanks. The result is a well balanced wine that does not have the oak overtaking the flavor profile.
- 2014 Pinot Noir, Carneros
Sourced from multiple vineyards from Napa and Sonoma in Carneros, this wine is the epitome of what a Pinot Noir should be; medium body and weight, nice acidity, dark fruit (cherry) and toasted but moderate oak. It was aged for 10 months in 25% new French Oak.
- 2015 GSM Rhone Blend, Napa Valley
This was one of my favorites. In fact, a bottle found its way to my home on the plane. It is a blend of (GSM) 38% Grenache, 37% Mourvedre, and 25% Syrah sourced from grapes from northern and southern Napa Valley vineyards. With flavors of red berries (cherry and raspberry) and a touch of black pepper, this medium-plus wine has a nice long finish.
- 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
A nice dark colored, medium-plus bodied wine, with aromas of dark red cherry, spice, and a hint of wet granite. Flavors of cherry, vanilla, and an oak toastiness are present on the palate along with a hint of tobacco. It is smooth and well balanced with a nice finish. This is a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 8% Petite Sirah, 4% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc. The wine was aged 15 months in a combination of French and 35% new American oak.
I had a great time interacting with Andrew, checking out the winery site, and just relaxing outside and enjoying the wine for a few hours. If you are in the area, be sure to check it out.
To find out more about Starmont Winery & Vineyards or order their wines, check out their website.