I have been visiting Crocker & Starr Winery for almost 25 years and have bought just about every wine varietal Pam Starr has produced! It is no wonder why of all the wines in the cellar, Crocker & Starr label garners one of the highest quantities of bottles. Over the years I believe I have written a dozen stories, countless blog posts on the wines, visited the facility almost yearly and have enjoyed every wine. So continuing our journey last weekend giving an overview to our friends of Napa Valley, which is a Herculean task, Crocker & Starr Winery was selected as one of four to visit and taste. Her wines range from sparkling, Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc blend, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Franc blend, Malbec and a couple of versions of Cabernet Sauvignon including her coveted “1 Post”. This named after her handshake partnership with Charlie Crocker in launching Crocker & Starr Winery. For more information see an earlier story at: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2016/02/01/crocker-starr-2/ . Crocker & Starr wines have for every year for the last ten years made my “Best Wines Tasted of the Year” list for several of her wines.
Upon arriving we were met by Katie Grady our hostess for the afternoon. A glass of their 2017 Blanc de Noirs sparkling was poured for each guest. This was made in celebration of their 25th Anniversary. While this wine was new to me, I am generally reluctant as I am typically not impressed with domestic sparkling wines. However I do very much enjoy Champagne. The taste was as close to Champagne as anything experience stateside! It is made with 96% Pinot Noir and 4% Chardonnay grapes. A creaminess, vibrant and aromatic sparkling like none other. The price is $58 and such a bargain, I actually added it to the cellar. This wine was enjoyed while Katie provide a guided tour of the winery production and pointed key geography of the property.
Once returning to the covered outdoor seating area, the 2021 Estate Sauvignon Blanc was poured. This wine has for years been one of my favorite to pair with various seafood dishes. Bright, clean, aromatic, stone minerality and without excessive citrus notes. Melon, mango and kiwifruit notes with a minuscule of lime. Some of my favorite pairings with her Estate Sauvignon Blanc include fresh brook trout müllerin, grilled halibut, Ahi ceviche, various Irish cheddar and Mozzarella cheeses and my favorite Maguro sashimi. Pictures and stories are on my website ( https://californiawinesandwineries.com ) and can be found using the Search Engine. With just drinking the last bottle earlier this year, it was time to pick up several bottles for some upcoming meals. At $45 this is one of my special wines for seafood.
Next up on the tasting was the 2019 Crocker & Starr “Casali 12”. This is a one of her go to wines and the grape mix changes year to year. This year was comprised of 85% Malbec and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. You can see the royal purple coloring in the glass and the taste is fit for a king or queen. Depth, color, layers of absolute enjoyment, structure and a finish that is “other worldly” makes this one of my favorite wines. This wine pairs so nicely with short ribs and carne asada (see a previous article: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2020/12/29/carne-asada-and-malbec-wine-the-challenge-and-experiment/. The wine goes for $95/bottle. The Estate Sauvignon Blanc and the “Casali” labels are only available to club members.
This is the view of the vineyard while seated enjoying sipping and tasting all these spectacular wines.
Last up on the tasting this afternoon was the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon “1 Post” made with 100% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. To describe this wine, I will defer to their tasting notes “this wine boasts a deep garnet purple color and bursts with aromas of sweet cassis, violets, toasted spice and black forest cake. The palate is screaming with elegance and energy with rich layers of chocolate covered cherry’s, dark plums, dried flowers, velvety texture and seamless freshness”. Wine critic Jeb Dunnuck called it “just-about-perfect” and “incredibly elegant…..and magical”. I was so enjoying the wine and simply mesmerized, I didn’t even take a picture! Aged 22 months in 90% new French oak and only 239 cases produced. The price is $225/bottle and worth every penny. Our guests pounced on this wine and walked away carrying many bottles.
This proved to be another stellar winner on our tour of four wineries this weekend. I would never hesitate to recommend Crocker & Starr for wines that take your breath away and leave you speechless.