2014 Stolpman Syrah ‘Para Maria de los Tecolates’
Region: Santa Ynez Valley < California
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Dry-farmed organic farming, limestone soil, <20ppm SO2, 15% carbonic fermentation, unfined/unfiltered
Winemaker: Sashi Moorman
Another wine from one of my favorite family operations in the Santa Ynez Valley. 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!” For this lovely Syrah, Peter Stolpman and his vineyard manager Ruben Solorzano decided to partner to make a wine that paid tribute to the unsung hero of the vineyard: Maria, Ruben’s wife, and mother hen to the whole crew. Maria Solorzano grew up in the small Jaliscan village of Santa Cruz, where people are referred to as Tecolotes, owls. Hence the drawing of an Owl’s face on the label of this wine, called “Para Maria de los Tecolotes”, or for Maria of the Owls. Its 100% Estate Syrah, with 15% fermented carbonically. This carbonic experiment tempers the big Syrah blackberry fruit, adding freshness and zing that might otherwise be lacking in this warm vintage. It’s fruit-forward but bright, with plush tannins and balanced acidity. Crowd pleaser.