2014stolpmansyrah2014 Stolpman Vineyards, Syrah, Estate Grown, Ballard Canyon.
The latest set of Stolpman releases are all exciting wines, beautifully made, vibrant and expressive in detail and richness of fruit, especially their 2014 Estate Grown Syrah, which is a tremendous wine of class and character. It was great to taste the wines with Jessica Stolpman, Pete’s wife and hear in detail how each wine was made and hear the struggles of an all organic estate and dry famed vineyard, as well as the care and passion brought to the wines through winemaker Sashi Moorman and vineyard manager Ruben Solorzano, who himself, is becoming a star for his big heart and the amazing grapes he brings into the cellar. Tom Stolpman is an almost heroic figure in the California wine scene, planting in the little known Santa Ynez Valley and focusing on Syrah, when the world was going crazy for Pinot Noir, making incredible wines and raising the world’s attention the terroir here, and almost single-handedly creating the Ballard Canyon AVA, a small strip of hillsides on limestone that makes for some of the best Syrah in California. Now Peter, Tom’s son, is taking the reins and leading the winery to even more acclaim with his efforts to promote this place and these awesome wines. The 2014 Estate Syrah is an electrically charged and vigorous red with a flow of spicy, powerful black and blue fruit that fills the palate and sensationally drinks like a classic northern Rhone with blackberry, boysenberry, plum and blueberry fruit along with vital acidity, ripe tannins and cool climate complexity showing chalky stones, peppercorns, black olives, hints of violets, cassis, anise, black fig, camphor and lavender oil. This is brilliant stuff, fermented in concrete with 50% whole cluster, it is one of the best values around for the absolute pleasure, style and quality in the bottle! Deep intensity of color and layers of flavors are hallmarks of Stolpman Syrah and the 2014 has it all and more, it is superb with cuisine and opens up and gets seductively decedent with air, it should age nicely too, best from 2018 to 2028. Stolpman has lots of other interesting wines out as well, while I was quite taken by the 2014 Estate, the 2013 Originals old vine Syrah is fabulous too with even more grip and power, but is in need of extra bottle age to deliver it’s best, the Croce 2013 a co-fermented Syrah and Sangiovese masterpiece of the exotic, wildly sexy and intriguing, and the very entertaining Syrah and Petit Vedot non estate Para Maria 2015 Red “de los tecolotes” that Ruben sources fruit for, with proceeds shared with the vineyard crew, and named for Maria, Stolpman’s harvest forewoman! Look for all the Stolpman offerings, in particular the reds from 2013, 2014 and 2015, this was a great showing and these wines deserve your attention.
($32 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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