Starmont

The first time I drank Starmont Chardonnay was at Merryvale Winery in St. Helena. I was sharing a table with Sean Foster, Merryvale’s chief winemaker, who was guiding us through a tasting of Starmont, Merryvale and Profile wines, all of which are Merryvale brands. We sat in the atmospheric Redwood Barrel Room next to the Cask Room.

The second time I had Starmont was also at Merryvale, this time for a party held during Premiere Napa Valley Week, the big annual charity auction extravaganza. I had just come from another party at Meadowood and had arranged to meet a travel editor there who was offering me an assignment reviewing restaurants in Wine Country. She never showed, the job fizzled out, but I had a fine time nonetheless, tasting barrel samples of a 2013 Stanly Ranch Estate Pinot Noir (pictured) and chatting with Starmont’s winemaker, Jeff Crawford. Later I ate wood-fired duck confit pizza and drank Merryvale’s Cab Sauvignon with an Arkansas wine distributor who had come to the valley on business for the weekend.

Now I’m looking forward to my third eventful tasting of Starmont. This one takes place next month when the Carneros winery throws open the doors of its new tasting room on the weekend of July 18-19. Crawford, Foster and other Starmont and Merryvale creatives are certain to be there. It’s a two-day bash, free and open to the public: Saturday July 18: The Hots rock band and food trucks by Calistoga Inn, Cousins Maine and Kara’s Cupcakes. Sunday, July 18: solo guitarist Justin Dias and trucks by Rebel Dog Food Cart, Smokey’s BBQ, the Oyster Guy and more cupcakes from Kara’s. Personalized bottle engraving services will be offered and needless to say, lots of Starmont and Merryvale brand wines for tasting and purchase.

Both days 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Starmont is at 1451 Stanly Lane in Napa, next to the Stanly Ranch Estate Vineyard, one of California’s legacy vineyards, created in the late 1800s. Consult the Starmont website for more details.—Kevin Nelson