2018 Stolpman Syrah 'So Hot Right Now'

2018 Stolpman Syrah 'So Hot Right Now'

Regular price $42

Region: Ballard Canyon < Santa Ynez Valley < CA

Grapes: Syrah

Vineyard/Cellar Stats: organic farming, loam and slate soil; carbonic fermentation then 10 months in neutral barrel; bottled unfined/unfiltered with no added Co2; zero-zero; 12.5% ABV


Winemaker: Peter Stolpman & Sashi Moorman

You know we’re big fans of the Stolpman family here at Rock Juice – in addition to working organically since day one, and producing wine in a very low-intervention way, they do something really cool and unusual: employ their vineyard workers year-round and full-time, as well as offer profit sharing. Says Peter, “We strive not only to make the best wine possible – we are also committed to creating a healthy, stable work environment for fifteen families. Proud, fulfilled people make better wine!” 


We love the Stolpmans even more in recent years, as they've expanded their portfolio of classic central coast wines to include a range of vin de soif wines - those light, fresh bottles meant for daily drinking that are totally up our alley.   This is Peter's soif-y version of Syrah, one made with carbonic fermentation that is also sans soufre.  Explaining why they made this wine, Peter says: "We enjoy French Syrah, especially wines from Cornas and St. Joseph, so we asked ourselves, “how can we make softer Syrah in Ballard Canyon?”   We pride ourselves on bright energy and balance in all Stolpman Syrah cuvees in the realm of New World Syrah.  However, when compared to our favorite French wines, Stolpman Vineyards’ profile almost automatically comes off richer and more coating – a totally different weight class.  Our grape skins must ward off intense Ballard Canyon sun every day.  Those skins then must grow hearty enough to insulate against 40 degree drops in temperature every night. In other words, our Syrah vines have adapted to our extreme, character-building conditions and the consequence of these thicker skins is potentially brawny tannins.  To top it off, our grapes have less juice to absorb those massive skin elements due to our practice of dry farming in a region that receives no rain during the growing season.  In an effort to make more delicate, prettier Syrah wines, we began to experiment with not extracting skin tannin.  If we leave our Syrah grapes uncrushed through fermentation, the texture and flavor from our thick Syrah skins becomes less invasive. We all of a sudden have the opportunity to make a delicate, pretty wine.  Because we aren’t crushing the skins, we don’t need to wait for the skin tannin to soften on the vine in order to harvest and we don’t need to rely on a richer, riper profile to envelope those skin tannins.  We can pick at lower sugar levels, and ferment without oxygen (carbonic) to give the wine further lift and brightness.  SYRAH SO HOT RIGHT NOW represents the first carbonic lot that we’ve held in barrel through the following summer, doubling the elevage length relative to its sister wine, SYRAH SO HOT"

That's a long explanation for how and why, but the what is obvious: a fresh, bright, easy-drinking Syrah with complexity and length, and without the heaviness, both in terms of alcohol and mouthfeel, that is typical in central coast Syrah.  Heck, in most California Syrah.  Here, there is a piercing, high-toned raspberry and strawberry component combined with popping spice, subtle meatiness and pepper that is at once familiar, if you love Syrah, but also new and exciting.  We love how Peter describes the mouthfeel in surfer parlance: "the wine rides high and slices through the roof of the mouth rather than slowing down to fill and coat."  Hands down, best Cali Syrah we've had in a long while.  

SERVE SLIGHTLY CHILLED

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