93 Insider points

93 Points - Vinous Media

92 Points - Wine Advocate



Chad Melville wines are incredible! This SAMsARA passion project of his is laced with heart & soul. He is a grower and it's in the family, he comes from one of the best winemaking pedigree in all of the Santa Rita Hills. They even have their own famous vineyard called Melville, duh. The Zotovich is powerful yet elegant while being super well balanced and methodic. Layers upon layers of darker cherries and laced with spices, herbs and floral notes. A very powerful bouquet shows the concentration while aging potential is found within the structure and acidity. What a super versatile wine that you can drink now, lie down and pair with some favorite dishes. Enjoy it, it's a real treat and a shame that Chad is no longer in charge of the 2015 and up vintages. ~James Byus III, Premier Wine Concierge, invino  

"Possessing more berry fruits, pepper, violets and hints of minerality, the 2013 Syrah Zotovich (100% stems and aged two years in neutral barrels) is medium to full-bodied, plump and layered, with beautiful ripeness and texture, as well as a fresh, lively style. This is another cool climate beauty from Chad that readers shouldn’t miss." ~Robert Parker, Aug. 2016

"The 2013 Syrah Zotovich Vineyard is a very pretty wine. Lifted and gracious, because of the sandy soils here, the Zotovich nevertheless offers striking fruit density and voluptuousness. Black cherry, plum, menthol, lavender and sweet spices flow through to the creamy finish. This is the most overt and fruit-driven of the SAMsARA single-vineyard Syrahs. Nothing sticks out. Instead, it is the wine's overall balance that is convincing. The 2014 was done with 50% whole clusters." ~Antonio Galloni, Sept. 2016

    Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, California
  • SIZE
    Whole cluster joined gently pressed juice for a native yeast fermentation
    Another 24 months in oaks, 12 months in bottle
    190 cases

  • BODY

  • OAK


**Best Price in Country & Limited**

If wine is a labor of love, then Chad Melville wrote one helluva love story with his Syrah. The single vineyard darling in Santa Rita Hills is a revelation in a bottle. The full spectrum of complexity that Syrah can offer stands and delivers in Melville’s visionary bottle. And we just managed to get our hands on a few cases of it to share with you.

Saṃsāra is a Sanskrit word that means "wandering" or "world", with the connotation of cyclic, circuitous change. It also refers to the theory of rebirth and "cyclicality of all life, matter, existence", a fundamental assumption of all Indian religions.

Why we love it:

  • In a fashion befitting truly obsessed professionals, Chad and Mary Melville started SAMsARA understanding that to make good wine, you have to grow it first. Their approach is, in a word, old-fashioned. Whole cluster fermentation, neutral oak, native yeast…unfined, unfiltered, unbelievably good.
  • So, it comes as no surprise that the micro-site climate, the care, the terroir of Zotovich Vineyard called Chad’s name. The sandy soils and diatomaceous earth lend to the statuesque balance of intensity and minerality of this Syrah. Harkening back to its ancestral origins in France’s Rhone Valley, the Syrah grown in this Santa Rita Hills vineyard is awe-inspiring.
  • Out of 34 Vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills AVA Zotovich Vineyard is the HIGHEST RATED according to everyvine.com. It has a PLATINUM RATING and is 30 acres of vines. The Santa Rita Hills is California's hottest commodity AVA at the moment and attracting more attention than it can handle.  
  • Chad fully realized this singular Syrah’s potential by touching it as little as possible. And as gently as possible. 93 points from Vinous’ Antonio Galloni and 92 points from Robert Parker of Wine Advocate, to be precise. 
  • Looks don’t matter. This unfined, unfiltered beauty packs a powerhouse of flavor thanks to the minimalist approach. You’ll find some sediment in the bottle, a hint of cloudiness in the glass. Fear not, that’s normal. It’s better than normal. According to some wine experts, unfined and unfiltered wines like this one can age longer and gain more complexity than their crystal clear counter parts.

"Santa Barbara County remains one of the most exciting regions in California... SAMsARA's Pinots and Syrahs (are) wines that stand out for their purity and the degree to which they reflect their origins."

- Antonio Galloni


Black cherry, plum, menthol, lavender and sweet spices flow through to the creamy finish. This is the most overt and fruit-driven of the SAMsARA single-vineyard Syrahs. Nothing sticks out. Instead, it is the wine's overall balance that is convincing.


SAMsARA produces limited releases of Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Grenache from carefully selected micro-sites within Sta. Rita Hill’s most distinctive vineyards. The resulting wines are an interpretation of the tenuous balance between the power of natural elements beyond our control and the human desire to reach perfection.

CHAD MELVILLE (of Melville Family wines)- HEAD WINEGROWER

In 1997, working side by side with his father Ron and brother Brent, Chad helped to establish Melville’s Estate vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills, a journey that began and continues to endure with tremendous passion and dedication. Since that time, Chad has received great critical acclaim for his wines. Through both his intimate knowledge of the vineyards and his relentless commitment to winemaking practices that honor tradition and the land, Chad understands the magical evolution each bottle of wine undertakes from vine to glass. These guys are farmers and winemakers, the juice runs deep in their blood. 

 "A little dirt about SAMsARA wines from winemaker Chad Melville".

Today SAMsARA is owned by Dave & Joan Szkutak and wines are made by Matt Brady. This 2013 Zotovich was produced by Chad Melville. The official changing of the hands press release. Aug 20th, 2017. 


Ideal Pairing: Barbecue Pork. A bold wine like this can hold up to the intense flavors of slow-roasted barbecue pork. A great cut for this might be a pork shoulder where you’ll have a rich umami-driven piece of meat. Try spicing this type of meat with pepper and cumin to bring out the fruitiness in the wine. Another way is using Asian cuisine flavors, such as plum sauce, that will add to the fruitiness in the wine. (Vegetarian option: smoked seitan steaks)