Dierberg is one of the most consistently excellent producers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Santa Barbara area. But in addition to their two cool-climate, coastal vineyards from which their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are sourced, their Star Lane Vineyard sits several miles inland in sun-drenched Happy Canyon, enabling them to grow Bordeaux varietals and classic, California-style Sauvignon Blanc. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are what they’re known for but their taut, sage-inflected Cabernet Sauvignon and this Sauvignon Blanc are stand outs as well. Wines made from grapes grown in the Star Lane vineyard are sold under the Star Lane label.
Winemaker Tyler Thomas is obsessed with a granular understanding of his vineyards and that attention to detail is evident in both wines under review.
Pinot Noir Dierberg Vineyard Santa Maria 2014
From grapes grown in their Dierberg Vineyard located on the Western side of Santa Maria, this wine reeks of carnal, libidinous sensuality, starting with a warm kiss but finishing with some light, good-natured S and M.
A heady elixir of crystalline black cherry, strawberry, tarragon, and crushed rock, melds with freshly turned earth infused with faint barnyard aromas, all yielding a nose redolent of every imaginable possibility. As the wine sits in the glass, crushed rock shaded with subtle smoke becomes more apparent.
In the mouth, this is a robust, nearly full bodied Pinot Noir but it’s light on its feet with vibrant acidity framed by a mineral background. Tobacco leaf emerges at midpalate; dried cherry on the finish. Although the introduction is soft and luxurious, the tannins enter early and firm up the experience giving the wine an underlying, steely, taut line that locks in a trace of severity. Soft and silky, but etched with gravelly luster it manages to embody exotic mystery, refined intimacy and playful vulgarity—a wine for all occasions.
Or to put it more succinctly, it’s Pagan Poetry.
Price: $44 (Purchase Here)
Technical Notes: 20% new French oak for 14 months, 25% stem inclusion.
Star Lane Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016
This is a pretty, focused, generous wine showing lemon, guava and some lurking jalapeno. But as you drink down the glass, vestiges of petrol seem to be hiding there giving this wine a reckless moment.
On the palate, an expansive, enameled opening quickly finds a seam of tense minerality leading to a clean, fresh finish, with a slight rasp in the texture giving the wine angular momentum. Good length with a saline character at terminus.
The gentle, cosmopolitan polish becomes provocative and strident, a wine of extremes that resonates with the haunting character of the octaves in the chorus of Pearl’s Dream by Bat for Lashes.
Price: $22 (Purchase Here)
Technical Notes: 30% barrel aged in neutral French oak.