INSIDER'S PICK: 2022 STOLPMAN VINEYARDS 'LA CUADRILLA' SANTA BARBARA COUNTY (Vinous 92points) $25.99
New vintage of an old favorite, and though the blend and the label change from vintage to vintage it remains one of the most consistent values for Rhone varietal blends coming out of California. Stolpman Vineyards is one of the very few wineries to employ their vineyard staff year round, not only insuring the high quality of work with their vines, but allowing the families to have consistent work and stable living situations. The vineyard manager went so far as to begin a program of assigning workers small vineyard blocks, or Cuadra, in addition to their regular work to immerse themselves in learning vineyard management for themselves. In 2009 Stolpman began bottling wine from these parcels to make La Cuadrilla (now at least 10% of the winery's yearly production), and the profit from this wine goes back to the workers. As Stolpman is renowned for their Syrah, that grape makes up the majority of the wine each vintage, but the blends vary depending on the success in each cuadra; Sangiovese has been a unique inclusion frequently for this Rhone-esque blend, and this vintage marks the first use of Mourvedre in some time. Minimal oak presence gives the wine plenty of room to let loose the natural fragrance, and the inclusion of stems during fermentation brings out more of the earthy or savory side. Dark cherry skins, raspberry, hints of smoke, black pepper and anise on the nose that get more and more flowery as it opens up. The palate is less extracted than usually expected from Californian Rhones, delightfully so, giving the dark spice and tobacco leaf notes more of the stage with the red fruits, and a clean tartness to the finish. This is big on flavor but not a palate-stainer, with lots of new complexity to find every trip to the glass, great for big roast meat dishes.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!