Powerful & Balanced Wines: Crocker & Starr

The story begins in the late 1800s. James Dowdell, a Northern Ireland native travels the world and somehow lands in St. Helena. He begins as a mere wine grower, building a brandy house and winery estate on his property.  Between his own harvest and that of his neighbors, he produces 50,000 gallons of wine his first year in business. After 50 successful years, prohibition grabs hold of his winery, closing its doors, until Charlie Crocker purchases the estate in 1971, and adds adjoining properties to the estate.

In ‘97, Charlie Crocker and Pam Starr establish Crocker & Starr, resurrecting the historic winemaking estate. Pam becomes Charlie’s partner as well as manager and winemaker and begins transitioning from conventional to sustainable farming. Although not formally certified “organic”, the winery drives their commitment to be responsible and sustainable with a mission to showcase what the vineyard produces—powerful and balanced wines without compromise, as would any First Growth Bordeaux Chateau.

In 2005, their Sauvignon Blanc makes Wine Spectator’s “Top 100 List.” In 2009, their Cabernet Sauvignon rates highly by Robert Parker and Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV. Then, in 2017, Enobytes rates their Malbec as “Excellent” gaining world recognition for one of the most underappreciated varieties in the world.

Her’es their latest offerings. If anything sounds intriguing, buy quickly as many are limited production.

Crocker & Starr

2015 Crocker & Starr Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California ($34)

This is like drinking a mango dreamcicle that’s been twirled through a lemon meringue pie. It’s a dreamy, sensual, tropical dance in a glass. Finishes long and strong. Wonderful!

2014 Crocker & Starr Cabernet Franc, St. Helena Napa Valley, California ($80)

What’s up buttercup? Sweet, ripe and concentrated, this Cabernet Franc is a powerhouse with layers of boysenberry, cassis, black cherry and baking spices. You’ll enjoy this wine if you like full-bodied reds with bold character. Its balanced, finishing long and strong. Beautiful! I paired this wine with blueberry pie. Awesome sauce! Release date will happen February 14.

Enobytes blueberry pie

2014 Crocker & Starr Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena Napa Valley, California ($120)

Rich and balanced with layers of blackberry, vanilla and spice. Complex, integrated tannins. Cellar this puppy to bring out its full potential. Decant if you must drink it now!  Excellent.

2014 Crocker & Starr “Casali 7” Malbec, St. Helena Napa Valley, California ($80)

Harmonious and charming, this  Malbec blended with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Virdot is pretty spectacular. Dark, and inky color gives way to aromas and flavors of dark cherry, mocha and pepper with herbaceous, earthy undertones. Excellent! I paired this with smoked chicken and it was fantastic. The wine definitely needs something powerful that can stand up against the wine, and the smoke really did the trick. 500 case production.

Enobytes smoked chicken


About the Author:

Editor and co-founder of Enobytes.com, Pamela is a sommelier and former restaurant manager and wine buyer with Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), Court of Master Sommeliers & Center for Wine Origins certification. She has contributed to or been quoted by various publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Sommelier Journal, Vegetarian Times, VIV Magazine, UC-Berkeley Astrobiology News, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, NPR and USA Today. True to her roots, she seeks varietal and appellation integrity and is always passionate about finding the next great bottle of wine.

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