The Story Behind OM & LOTUS Limited Release Wines

– Dave Szkutak, SAMsARA Owner

The Story Behind OM & LOTUS Limited Release Wines

2013 LOTUS PINOT NOIR & OM SYRAH “The year began with lunch” 

In the now famous, and somewhat revered book “A Year in Provence” by Peter Mayle, the story begins with the sentence “The year began with lunch”. Well, this short story begins with an empty wine cellar. 2017 began with plans to visit Santa Barbara wine country!  Joan and my close friends had just finished building a new home, complete with a 1200 bottle wine cellar that was virtually empty.  Now, as many of you wine lovers will agree, an empty wine cellar is really a sore sight to behold!  Naturally we wanted to help our friends solve this problem.  While I offered to sell them some wine from my very full wine cellar, they wanted to experience wine country, taste the wines, and get to know the people at each winery.  Since Joan and I subscribe to this same philosophy of wine buying, we gladly accepted the idea of planning a trip for our friends to Santa Barbara wine country (an area we had visited and loved for over a decade)!

That Fateful Trip . . .

On that fateful trip a few things happened.  Naturally, our friends fell in love with the beauty of Santa Barbara County, the people, and the wines.  They had a very successful buying trip (I think their credit card was red hot at the end of the trip from overuse) and today they happily enjoy their Santa Barbara wines from their cellar in Florida.  A large part of their “haul” were SAMsARA Wine Co wines! During the trip we also learned that SAMsARA might be sold or discontinued moving forward.  As long time lovers of SAMsARA wines, our curiosity was piqued and we began to ponder ways we might be able to save this amazing winery from extinction. Our conversations about the business began casually yet grew more serious and a few short months later, we were the proud new owners of SAMsARA Wine Co.  Assuming ownership of a winery may be one of the less common risks of going wine tasting! Of course, we couldn’t be happier and feel very lucky to have a great partner in our talented winemaker, Matt Brady.

Pick The Best Barrels

Every year, we select the very best barrel of Pinot Noir, and two of Syrah (each barrel is about 24 cases) and offer these wines to our club members with distinctive, limited edition packaging.  Unlike most of our wines, the individual vineyard from which each produced is not our focus, but rather Joan, Matt, and I choose the barrels we feel are the best and most expressive of the vintage.

Inspiration for Naming and Labeling

Our dilemma then became how to label these incredible, limited edition wines!  Reminiscing on the trip with our friends, it seemed natural to ask our trip-mate and award-winning artist, Gina Torkos, to think about ideas for new labels.  Two ideas emerged.  First, was to use Gina’s “Reverence at Banyon Temple” oil painting as the image for our OM bottling of special reserve Syrah.  Gina’s inspiration for this painting (now hanging in our tasting room in Goleta) was from a trip to Cambodia where she visited the Banyon Temple.  Gina also created, just for SAMsARA, a collage of a beautiful lotus flowers, which we then used for our special reserve LOTUS Pinot Noir bottling.  This collage is also now hanging in our tasting room.  To learn more about Gina and her artwork please visit her website here – . The concepts of using OM and LOTUS for our wines fits beautifully with the meaning behind SAMsARA – Sanskrit for “the eternal cycle of life”. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have these beautiful works of art as integral parts of our reserve wine program!

Both 2014 Lotus & OM Earn 95 Points!

We just received dual 95 point ratings from The Wine Advocate for our 2014 LOTUS Pinot Noir and OM Syrah limited edition reserve wines. Jeb Dunnuck gave both LOTUS and OM outstanding scores at 95 points, which really made our day!  With just a few cases left of each release, we are sure they will go quickly, so order now if you want to snag a few bottles! 2014  LOTUS Pinot Noir – Sta. Rita Hills “The 2014 Pinot Noir Lotus is pale to medium ruby with an intense, powerful nose; pipe tobacco, warm blackberries, cinnamon stick and nutmeg, salami, cracked peppercorn, potpourri, dusty earth, spiced cranberry sauce, stewed rhubarb and strawberry jam – there are so many layers here, I could keep smelling and naming scents.  Medium-bodied and smooth as silk, it transforms in the mouth from saline to orange to rose to warm fruits, building in intensity, with pleasantly chewy tannins and mouthwatering freshness to counter, finishing very long, very spicy and with tons of energy. Wow!  It’s drinking beautifully right now, but if you can keep your paws off, this will be stunning with a few years of bottle age” (Drink Date 2020-2030)  – Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate One barrel produced (Only 15 cases available)   $85/Bottle – Wine Club discounts apply – 6 bottle limit PURCHASE 2014 LOTUS PINOT NOIR 2014 OM Syrah – Sta. Rita Hills “Medium to deep ruby, the 2014 Syrah OM has a singular nose of salted licorice, black olive, rosemary-crusted lamb, saline and even an orange peel hint with coffee bean, baked black cherries, blackberry preserves, warm blueberries, cocoa and peppercorn.  Medium to full-bodied the palate is intense and concentrated with wonderful layers of fruit, savory tinges and spice, framed to plush, ripe tannins and great freshness, finishing very long and layered. Yowza!” (Drink Date 2022-2040) – Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate Two barrels produced (Only 40 cases available) $75/Bottle – Wine Club discounts apply – 12 bottle limit PURCHASE 2014 OM SYRAH These select wines are only available to SAMsARA Wine Club Members by ordering on our website here, by emailing, or by calling the winery at 805-845-8001.  To order on the website, you must sign in to your account as these wines are only available to club members so the website will not allow you to purchase if you are not logged in.  Dave Szkutak, Owner – SAMsARA Wine Co.