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Capturing the essence of the vineyard in a bottle

“The true essence of sustainable farming is that what you take out of the land, you put back into it.”

Crocker & Starr handcrafts a small production of exquisite, world-class wines from its sustainable vineyard estate in St. Helena. Charlie Crocker and Pam Starr’s commitment to sustainable and organic farming techniques combined with cutting edge winemaking tools come together to combine the best of both old world philosophy and new world fruit. Winemaker and co-owner Pam Starr “designs” the estate’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc to capture the essence of the extraordinary terroir of the vineyard.

Crocker & Starr’s Cabernet Sauvignon, considered the winery’s crowning achievement, is dark and dense with aromas of black cherries, chocolate and the earth itself. Its silky tannins along with the oak structure leave a lush mouth feel. The Cabernet Franc is rich and concentrated with aromas of cinnamon stick, clove and Asian spices and has a savory, lingering blueberry finish. The Sauvignon Blanc blends grapes from warmer upper valley and cooler down valley vineyards to create a lovely minerality and forward aromas of lime, kiwi, peach, pear and guava.

Pam Starr's winemaking practices are gentle. All of the grapes are harvested at night when the berries are ripe and cool and the skin softened. To protect the skins, de-stemming and sorting are done by hand. The use of various extraction techniques depends on the vintage; sometimes the wine team combines cold soaking and extended maceration for up to 45 days. After pressing gently, the new wine is matured in French oak barrels. Crocker & Starr's Cabernet Sauvignon is barreled for 20 to 22 months and the Cabernet Franc for 16 months. There is no fining or filtration.

Blending at Crocker & Starr begins at harvest. Typically more than 50 lots are individually fermented and continually blended throughout the barrel maturation. The final blend is completed the day before bottling.

“Grapes express where they are grown and for me soil is everything,” says Pam Starr. “I work the soil so it will express itself in the wine when blended. In this way I design the wine to capture the essence of our estate terroir. As a result we create complex, balanced, elegant wines that express the aromatic profile of the Crocker Vineyard.”