Samuel Louis Smith
Santa Cruz Mountains AVA
Focused on crafting unmanipulated elegance, balance and freshness in each limited production wine
Established is 2014, Samuel Louis Smith is a micro-winery based in Salinas, California. Owner/ winemaker Sam Smith crafts limited amounts of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah from some of the coolest and most compelling terroirs of the Central Coast, including Sta. Rita Hills, Monterey, and the Santa Cruz Mountains. Within each region, he seeks out the most distinctive sustainably-farmed vineyards sites to ensure his wines are expressive, unique, and delicious.
Sam Smith was captivated by vineyards from a very young age, spending many weekends cycling on California's Central Coast with his father. Years later, Sam attended UC Santa Barbara and studied French, Spanish and Economics, for an intended career in international business. He had a nagging desire for wine knowledge, however, which led him to a semester abroad in Bordeaux in 2009 - the perfect place to study French and economics while also embracing the world-renowned wine country - plus, there was proximity to good surf. A tour and tasting at Chateau Lynch-Bages, and a pairing of confit de canard with '89 Margaux are poignant memories for Sam that solidified his future direction and passion.
Upon returning to California, Sam jumped feet first into the wine industry, working harvests in Santa Barbara, Australia, the Willamette Valley, and the Northern Rhone. He also worked as the assistant winemaker for Margerum Wine Company (Santa Barbara) for three years, where his palate and California's cool Central Coast terroir became a match made
in heaven. Sam has since been especially drawn to cool-climate winegrowing and producing food friendly wines with character and structure. Along the way, Sam also completed the prestigious UC Davis Extension winemaking program which supported his hands-on experience.
When Sam Smith founded Samuel Louis Smith Wines in 2014, he originally focused on the Sta. Rita Hills, but the brand has shifted its focus to craft Chardonnay from Sta. Rita Hills, Pinot Noir from Monterey, and Syrah from the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is Sam's goal to achieve un-manipulated elegance, balance and freshness in each of his limited production wines, allowing the terroir of each vineyard to shine through. The wines are made in a neoclassical style where light handling, wild fermentations, and stem inclusion in the reds create wines of place and purity, aroma and structure. Since the beginning, it has been Sam's focus to work with organic and sustainably-farmed mountain sites, and with his minimal intervention in the cellar, he has created a profile of stunning, site-driven wines that truly capture the essence of where they came from. The water color paintings, found in black and white on the Samuel Louis Smith wine labels, are Sam's originals.
Definitely a winemaker to watch, Sam Smith is also the head winemaker at the historic Morgan Winery, a pioneer of organic viticulture and traditional winemaking in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, where he has crafted several award-winning vintages as well. We look forward to what the future holds for this rising-star winemaker.
Please enjoy this award-winning Pinot Noir from Samuel Smith Wines! It is available right now to our Garagiste Wine Club members! Cheers!