This week’s Wines of the Week are a Pinot Noir and a Syrah from Samsara, a producer in Santa Barbara County, California. Chad and Mary Melville, the winegrowers and owners of Samsara clearly are passionate about what they do and have put a lot of thought and energy into producing beautiful, expressive wines.

Samsara is a Sanskrit word meaning the eternal cycle of life. The world we live in now. One of passion, oneness and harmony. This idea is key to the philosophy of Chad and Mary Melville’s Samsara wines. Chad and Mary produce limited releases of Pinot Noir and Syrah from micro-sites within carefully selected vineyards.

They truly believe that they are winegrowers, not winemakers - that is, that all of the important work is done in the vineyard and there is little handling or manipulation once the fruit reaches the winery. That includes the use of whole clusters in their fermentations, which lends a spiciness to the wines that Chad and Mary particularly like. "Stems help to absorb the overt fruitiness of wines. To us, too many California wines are simply about fruit and lack the complexity that we hope to impart to our wines.”

The resulting wine is an interpretation of the tenuous balance between the power of nature and elements beyond our control, and the human desire to reach perfection. —Samsara Website

2013 Samsara Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir 
In Store Price $42

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
"Brilliant red. Smoky raspberry and redcurrant aromas are accented by allspice, anise and mocha. Supple, sharply defined red fruit flavors give way with aeration to deeper dark berries and cherry, picking up a touch of candied rose. Dusty tannins come on late, adding shape to the long spice- and mineral-tinged finish." Dec 2014 

Kyle Volk: This is super elegant California Pinot Noir, made with natural yeast and in a more traditional, Burgundian style. Love the light touch that winemaker Chad Melville brings to his Pinots!

2014 Samsara Syrah, Santa Barbara County
In Store Price $42

Inky violet color. The 2014 Syrah is pure excitement in the glass. Powerful aromas of espresso, woodsmoke and cherry tobacco. Dense sweet smoke, vanilla bean and blackberries with a seamlessly smooth long finish. There is a lot to look forward to in this Syrah. -Samsara website

Kyle Volk: This delightful Syrah is ready to drink now or could gain even more complexity with some bottle age. For anyone who likes a big California Syrah with ample fruit and some smoke, this is your wine.