Savanna Samson, Small Town Girl From Long Island Turned Winemaker
According to Bill O'Reilly (No Spin Zone), Savanna Samson is "blond and tan with full lips and long legs, an unmistakable smoldering sexuality emanates from her very being. That's where Savanna's resemblence to the "typical" adult film star ends..."
In addition to being one of the most well known stars in the adult film industry, Savanna Samson is a winemaker, a classical dancer, a writer, and a singer. Having a lifelong passion for wine she launched her wine business in 2005. The first wine, Sogno Uno, was called a "very fine wine - very good" by no less an authority than Robert Parker, who rated her debut a 90-91.
We were fortunate to get in touch with Savanna, chat with her on the phone, and secure an awesome interview. I'm a couple of you have been to L'Ami Louis in Paris...and we have a feeling you'll never think of it in the same way after reading Savanna's "embarrassing" story. Enjoy!
What was the first memory you have of wine?
My first memories of wine were when I was a little girl. I'll never forget when the big barrel arrived and all the crates of white grapes. My dad made wine in our basement! All of my sisters and I would take turns turning the grapes to crush them. Of course after it was made myself and all the neighborhood boys would sneak down there and drink it. I remember the principle, Sister Gregory calling me to the office one day at school and there was my Dad. He said, “I need you to tell me the truth… who is drinking the wine in the basement?" I started crying and had to tell on the boys and myself!
What was the first wine that you considered to be good wine?
My dad's wine in the basement! No seriously, before I new anything about wine I would go to the local wine shop and ask the salesperson to recommend a wine for whatever type meal I was making. The first question was always, "How much do you want to spend?" I thought, ok here we go, I'm going to get ripped off, a stupid girl who knows nothing. But now I realize how important that question is. I remember him suggesting a Barbi Brunello do Montalcino and I just loved it! I was hooked from then on. Then when I returned home after moving away, I took my parents to the finest restaurant in Watertown, called The Partridge Berry Inn and ordered a 1975 Mouton Rothschild. My Dad and I were floored at how spectacular it was. It was worth every penny and I still have the label.
Do you think it's the taste of a good wine or the experience while drinking the wine that makes it good? Why?
I think the taste of a wine along with the bouquet makes it good but it’s so much more than that. I think my mood can affect the way I experience a wine. It's the memory of the moment you drink it and who you drink it with as well. Sometimes I mindlessly drink wine but mostly I try to savor the flavors and the way it changes in the glass. Usually the better wine vintages I save for special occasions and special occasions can certainly make the wine that much better.
How big is your cellar?
I keep a small cellar at home with roughly 48 bottles, I live in Manhattan and my space is limited, unfortunately for clothes and shoes!
What is your favorite varietal (i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot)? Why?
My favorite is Pinot Noir. I love how delicate the grape is and when it's good I really appreciate the care in which the wine maker used to make the wine. It's feminine and delicate in the mouth and so difficult to say no to. My favorite is Charmes Chambertin.
What is your favorite region for wine (i.e. Napa Valley, Margaret River, Montelcino)
Wow, I have two favorites, definitely Montalcino for Sangiovese and Burgandy for Pinot Noir.
What is your favorite vineyard or brand?
Do you have a favorite bottle? (varietal, region, year)
What wine are you saving for a special day?
My 3L Sogno Uno 2004 and 5L Sogno Due 2005 and mostly will be for my son's something or other.
Where do you buy the majority of your wine? (Retailer, Direct, etc. Feel free to name the store you shop at or the site you buy from)
I can find any wine I want, no matter how old or rare it is at Royal Wine Merchants, 25 Waterside Plaza, NY, NY. If they don't have it, they will find it for me. There is also Park Avenue Liquors on Madison Ave.. and Wally's in Los Angeles, when I'm there.
Have you ever had an organic wine? Did you like it?
Oh yes, I've had organic wine. Gianfranco Soldera's Brunello. And my wine made organically as well..
What is the most you've ever spent on a bottle of wine?
The most I ever spent, personally, was for a 1961 Chateau Latour A Pomerol for a friend's Birthday.
What was your favorite wine experience (or one of your top experiences)?
My favorite wine experience was when I had my launch party at La Masseria in Manhattan for my first vintage Sogno Uno 2004. I was so proud of my wine and everyone was really loving it and having a great time. It was a Venetian Mardi Gras theme and so elegant. Plus all my sisters where there with me and I was so happy.
Do you have an embarrassing or funny experience to share?
One time at L' Ami Louis in Paris, I was wearing a Channel pant suit. The wine was flowing and everyone was having a great time when I accidentally spilled a glass of 1989 Chateau Rayas all over my cream colored suit. One of the girls at the table tried to help get it out with soda and then said, "Here take them off!" I took them off and next thing I knew I was on top of the tables dancing in my panties. The whole restaurant joined in!
What one wine do you recommend for our readers to try?
You must try my newest wine, it's really amazing and easy drinking. It's a full- bodied red from Piedmonte. It's 100% La Barbera grape, all about temperature. The grapes were picked at three different times during the harvest, making three completely different wines which I then blended back. It's called Sogno, meaning dream, Tre. It really is wonderful, Sogno Tre 2005.
Also, for you white wine lovers, my Sogno Due 2005 which is crisp and fresh and wonderful!
What is an up-and-coming wine (or winery) you think is a good value right now?
There is a champagne called Moutard, that is not so well known but fabulous. It's one of the only houses allowed to used a varietal of up to six different grapes and they also have a rose'. I will be working with them to make a blend of my own which I'm really excited about. But you can try their champagne now, I drink it all the time!