Wines poured in this themed flight include 2013 pinot noirs from Cargasacchi and Las Hermanas, syrahs from Melville and Zotovich, and grenache from Larner. | Credit: Vanessa Vin

Music and wine have an uncanny way of bringing people of different walks of life into the same room for a shared experience. And while it’s not uncommon to find both around local tasting rooms all over Santa Barbara, you’re less likely to find an experience that combines a curated wine and music pairing through local vintage wines. This transcendental wine-tasting experience is precisely what SAMsARA’s Goleta tasting-room team would like guests to enjoy through their curated wine and music pairings. This month’s theme: wines from SAMsARA’s 2013 harvest to the tune of Led Zeppelin’s “Ten Years Gone.”

The “Ten Years Gone” tasting flight at SAMsARA.

Tasting current-release wine is the norm at most places, but tasting vintage wine offers the unique opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the wine. Tasting vintage wine is not so common in Santa Barbara, especially compared to regions such as Burgundy or Bordeaux, where archeological evidence dates viticulture practices back to the Roman era and sometimes even older. Santa Barbara wine country, which was first designated in the ’80s with the Santa Maria AVA, followed by Santa Ynez Valley, Sta. Rita Hills, and Ballard Canyon AVA, is relatively young. There just isn’t much “old” wine to taste. This is part of the reason most tasting rooms stick to pouring current releases for their tasting flights while reserving their vintage wines for club members’ shipments only.

SAMsARA Wine Co.’s winemaker, Matt Brady, believes offering library wines is part of what makes their tasting-room experience special, and his passion for music from artists such as Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin helped to create a truly one-of-a-kind tasting experience. In fact, this may be the only time you have the opportunity to experience this particular retrospective lineup, as only about five cases of this wine remain in existence.

“We will definitely sell out,” says tasting room manager Christopher Skrabut. Scarcity of the wine is one reason why a library tasting is something to revel in. “You don’t see library tastings often, but our tasting room is off the beaten path. We are the only one in Goleta, so we often host the neighborhood folks who are regulars. We want to be able to offer something different for them each time they come in that is unlike the usual draw of day drinking one might find in the Funk Zone. This is why we preemptively save wines from each vintage to offer different retrospective tastings to our guests every month.” 

SAMsARA Winemaker Matt Brady oversees the “Ten Years Gone” tasting.

The music becomes another way to enhance the experience. Brady and Skrabut are often working or hanging together in the tasting room, and opening up a bottle that has been aged and properly stored for an extended period of time allows one to discover a preserved snapshot of the year’s climate. Simply put, tasting vintage wines is one way to understand and truly appreciate a region and the wine’s ability to develop over a period of time.

The year 2013 was a warm vintage for Santa Barbara, which Brady remembers well: “2013 was a powerful vintage, so drinking these wines during their original release would have made them seem bold and tannic, which is precisely what made them great candidates for enjoying 10 years down the line.” Tasting through these wines is one way to discover Sta. Rita Hills pinot and syrah with the added enjoyment of complexity and flavor from time spent in the bottle.

The “Ten Years Gone” tasting is a special flight of ’13 pinot noirs from Cargasacchi and Las Hermanas, syrahs from Melville and Zotovich, and grenache from Larner. 

6485 Calle Real, Ste. E, Goleta; (805) 845-8001;


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