2016 Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley) by Dierberg * StarLane

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley) by Dierberg * StarLane, Santa Barbara County, CA.

Deep intense color. Nose is a little shy out of the bottle with notes of raspberry, blackberry, a touch of cherry cola, licorice and damp wood leather with an underlying herbal suggestion almost eucalyptus like. It’s very faint and hard to discern. Swirling vigorously unlocks a burst of berries and cherry cola, over and over and over again… Ugghhh.

Body is light, crisp, balanced from front to back. This wine eases onto the palate, very gently, with mere suggestions of faint dark cherry and plum skins. Not too ripe, not too tart, just right, a mere tannic suggestion. There is a masterfully integrated crisp neutral oak you would easily miss. This all combines to form a supple, creamy underlayment. It has a nicely integrated mouth feel. A warm, firm but restrained spice emerges and persists over the palate. Transition to finish is seamless as the melange of whispers and suggestions slowly fade away leaving the palate slightly moist, under a gentle crisp tannic grip and gentle, warm spice tingle.

The 2014 vintage is one of my all-time favorite Pinot Noirs. This 2016 vintage falls right in line. It is an absolutely gorgeous wine sure to keep the focused, advanced palate engaged even entranced. A very sophisticated, nuanced expression, the Dierberg SMV Pinot holds a special place in my heart and Cellar. I don’t think I will ever be able to get enough of it. This is what you get when wine comes first before everything else.

I have to go now…

Read more about my first visit to Dierberg * StarLane here.

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Astral Cabernet Sauvignon

In 1868 something begins to ravage France’s vines. After some digging—pun intended—it is discovered that a plant louse/ aphid known as phylloxera (phyl·lox·e·ra) was enjoying the roots instead of the wines in which they produced.

Although it is somewhat debated, the phylloxera mite is thought to have come from America sometime in the 1850’s. Back in Missouri Charles Valentine Riley, Missouri’s entomologist recognized the affliction in Frances plantings and wrote French botanist Jules Émile Planchon in 1870 to inform him that he too had observed this louse, feasting on the leaves of American vines, and not on the roots—his letter was quickly dismissed.

After some persistence, Riley visited France in 1871 and a argued that American rootstock was resistant to the aphid since the two had evolved together. He was correct! Then in the winter of 1872 George Husmann—The Father of the Missouri Grape Industry in Herman, Missouri—also a scientist, educator, and writer—sent nearly 400,000 cuttings to Montpellier, France. In spite of some French resistance to using American root stock the project was successful and the so-called la défense began.

To this day, all vines with few exceptions are planted on this Missouri bred rootstock in France and America with a local exception—our Astral Cabernet Sauvignon. To this day Astral remains one of the few California Cabernet’s not reliant on disease resistant stock, due in large part to Happy Canyon’s lack of humidity, and the presence of sandy soil!

~ Dierberg * Star Lane


Not long ago I reviewed the Astral Cabernet Sauvignon by Dierberg * Star Lane. I had been wanting to explore this wine since my visit a few years ago and it did not disappoint (see link to my post just above). Shortly after, Dierberg shared the story behind this vineyard. I found it very interesting and thought you might enjoy reading (posted with permission).

2016 Pinot Noir (Drum Canyon) by Dierberg * StarLane

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir (Drum Canyon) by Dierberg * StarLane

Deep ruby red color. Nose is restrained, well mannered, slightly warm, with notes of oak, berries, hint of sweet cherry all conspiring to create a very subtle red vines licorice. Terroir is also represented in the form of wet dusty leather. It maintains a classy posture overall. Interesting.

Body is representative. A very mild restrained acidic attack that is quickly accompanied by buttery smooth tannins. Very subtle oak and blackberry emerge towards the back to create a full mouth feel. A very faint black currant lends good structure and balance as it transitions to a brief finish capped by a hint of spice.

I reviewed the Dierberg Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir a while back and was absolutely enamored with it. One of my top California Pinot Noirs. Looking back at my notes I can some similarities and some differences. First this one is more medium bodied, slightly dryer more structured body. Where they resemble is the result of the winemakers attention to detail, commitment to excellence and adherence to core principles. The result is a world class California Pinot. I highly recommend this Pinot, particularly for the advanced palate, especially side-by-side with the Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir for a good perspective on this winemaker and his craft. Well done folks!

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Dierberg Star Lane wines delivered to your doorstep.

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2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (Astral) by Dierberg Star Lane

Tonight’s occasion: 2011 Astral (Cabernet Sauvignon) by Dierberg * Star Lane, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara.

As expected, dark rich opaque color. This is mostly Cab and Cab Franc. Out of the bottle nose is slightly restrained but big and heavy with lots of plum and a touch of dark sweet cherry up front. In the back, anise lingers over a fairly neutral terroir and is accompanied by black licorice as it opens up. There is good separation. This had to have been massive, if not barely approachable 5 years ago.

Unlike your quintessential big jammy California Cab, the body shows good balance front to back. Moderate acid goes hand-in-hand with dry, restrained, fine grained tannins and black currants. Plum and herbs carry over from the nose providing a brief diversion in an otherwise highly structured body. Transition to finish is brief, culminating in a firm and spicy tannic grip that leaves the palate parched and tingling.

This is by all accounts a solid, well built, delineated, wine for the advanced palate. It will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best of them. At almost 10 years old, it is just now becoming approachable and should be a magnificent work of art in 5-10 years time. It is built for the long haul, is a fine example of the winemaker’s attention to detail and strict adherence to core principles. It presents a zero compromise view of what is possible from an already storied region. I highly recommend this for those seeking solid example of what a California Cabernet can be. It presents a solid reference point for anyone looking for some perspective on the venerable California Cab. Well done Dierberg * Star Lane!!!

Almost two years ago while exploring for the first time, the Santa Barbara county region of the Central coast (read about it here: Dierberg, Santa Barbara) Dierberg came highly recommended by my all-time favorites and very savvy vintner, Roger Roessler. It did not disappoint. I have since gradually been exploring their selection of outstanding quality wines and very much look forward to following their works moving forward. Several racks will remain dedicated to their wines in my cellar. You can also view all their wines I have reviewed and highly recommend here or by using the search.

Tech Sheet

2011 Astral by Dierberg Star Lane

From Winemaker: 2011 SLAST Tech Sheet.pdf
Cellar Life: 12-15 years
Composition: Cabernet Franc 76%, Cabernet Franc 22%, Syrah 2%
Aging: 20 months French oak, new 80%
Analysis: Alcohol, 13.7%
Harvested/Bottled:
Oct-Nov 2011 / Aug 2013
Total Production: Approximately 400 cases

 

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Dierberg Star Lane wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Reserve: 2014 Pinot Noir by Dierberg * Star Lane

Tonight’s occasion: 2014 Pinot Noir by Dierberg * Star Lane Vinyards, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County, California.

Light ruby color. Very restrained and delicate nose characterized by sweet berry, hint of cherry, oak and the faintest slightly mineral terroir. The melange creates a subtle and unmistakable slightly caramelized marshmallow essence. It is rich, clean, crisp, layered, highly delineated. Body is just as restrained, very subtle, delicate balance of mild, berry, faint oak and leather as the terroir becomes slightly more expressed. Body makes a subtly tannic transition into the finish which quickly turns creamy and dissipates into the very gentle finish capped by a restrained spice. This is a traditional Pinot and it is showing perfectly right now!

My goodness this is an amazing Pinot!!! After weeks of bold big bodied wines, it is a breath of fresh air upon the palate. It is a reminder that some of the best Pinot in the world is crafted here in California. You won’t find this at the store. You will have to make the journey of a lifetime to this understated region. I wrote about my visit to this winery on my blog (see link in bio). Well done Dierberg * Star Lane! Hope to see you again soon. 🍷😁👌🏽

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Dierberg Star Lane wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Reserve: 2014 Syrah by Dierberg

Tonight’s occasion is a 2014 Syrah by Dierberg Star Lane Vinyard.

I posted a while back about my visit last year here. I wanted to try something special tonight so I reached for the Santa Barbara region in my cellar. Any mildly savvy palate should be able to identify the terrior in the nose alone. Very nice and rich. It prompted visuals of the vigneron (the one who tends to the vines) and contemplated all he/she put into those vines for the terrior to be so pronounced in the nose alone. A great, buttery, well balanced body (especially for a 14.2% ABV wine) a testament to the winemaker’s skill and craft. The finish is not as massive as your average California Syrah, but still has that signature tannic grip albeit restrained for a Syrah.

This region is most known for it’s amazing Pinot Noir, so it’s always a treat to see what Syrah – a typically big bold wine – would taste like. I like what they’ve done with this Syrah. Great job!

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Dierberg Star Lane wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Dierberg, Santa Barbara

Dierberg Star Lane

There are some great wineries tucked away in these hills. Were it not for a very helpful tip from my friend and Sonoma Vintner Roger Roessler of (rogerroesslerwines.com), I would have otherwise driven by and missed this gem.

Dierberg is a must if you are in the region. Their wines are exemplary, well built showcases. Their multi-vineyard estate spanning the greater region from Santa Rita Hills (AVA) to Santa Maria Valley (AVA) to Happy Canyon (AVA).

The winery had a certain modern contemporary minimalist, uncluttered feel that I think helped enhance the wine tasting experience. I found the staff to be very knowledgeable about the wines, estate and history as a whole. Presenting wines from both Dierberg and sister winery Star Lane Vineyard which offers some very interesting and exclusive art in a bottle.

Even though I’m not much of a white wine enthusiast, I thought their whites were very approachable, really well made and with a refreshing amount of creativity too. All their reds were exemplary, really well built wines very much in line with the wines I had tasted so far on this trip. I left with half a case of their Pinot Noir. I will be posting my thoughts whenever I open one of them. I will most definitely be visiting Dierberg next time I’m in the region.

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Dierberg Star Lane wines delivered to your doorstep.

Shop Dierberg Star Lane wines on Wine.com