2010 Stolpman Vineyards Angeli Red Wine Santa Ynez Valley
Expert Rating
ST 95 points
(Read the full review below)
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Winemaker Sashi Moorman and Stolpman Vineyards SQL Queries and the 95pt La Landonne Look-Alike

Increasingly, today's offer illustrates one of our biggest challenges. As the economy picks up steam, high-end buyers have awakened. That wake-up call was accompanied by a series of small yield harvests. Top-rated bottles from the coast -- particularly those going for less than $100/bottle -- are now being snapped up on release.

Still, some of our most loyal suppliers haven't forgotten the work WineAccess did for them when things weren't so rosy. They continue to carve out allocations for us, albeit small ones. Our challenge? First, how to make sure we send these offers to those who seem most interested? Second, how to make sure we don't over solicit the membership, depleting the allocation before many have a chance to hit buy?

Last year, Stephen Tanzer let loose with a review that seemed completely out of character. The New York-based critic is best known in the industry for his stinginess, rarely doling out 95 point scores to any bottle not called Petrus, Lafite or Screaming Eagle. But with the release of Sashi Moorman's absolutely extravagant 2009 "Angeli," the International Wine Cellar published an adjectival rant for the ages, describing that Stolpman knockout as being "Like liquid velvet in the mouth, with super concentrated, marrowy flavors of dark fruits, spices and minerals." Then the critic did one more, comparing the 2009 Stolpman Syrah "Angeli" to Guigal's Cote Rotie La Landonne, before punctuating the review with a 95 point addendum.

Pete Stolpman offered us 180 bottles -- and we messed up. Sure, 13 of the 30 buyers who posted ratings came in at 5 stars. But dozens of members were annoyed after hitting the Buy Button. Sold Out messages have a way of doing that.

Today, we're being more careful.

As we've written in the past months, 2010 is the most seductive vintage we've ever encountered in Ballard Canyon. Stolpman, Beckman and Jonata put out gorgeously concentrated, but more importantly, incredibly refreshing Syrahs. Again, Sashi Moorman tore the cover off the ball, and one more time, the International Wine Cellar published a review that is completely out of character.

This time, the adjectives were "Lush, fat, seamless and very deep, with harmonious ripe acidity framing the pliant dark berry and spice flavors."

Then, ANOTHER Guigal reference! "For the second consecutive vintage, I was reminded of Guigal's La Landonne."

Finally, a second 95pt rating -- the same score Tanzer attributed to the 2010 Screaming Eagle.

So what's our plan of attack today? Our 180 bottle '09 allocation has been trimmed to 144. We ran SQL queries Friday morning, slicing and dicing sales data from the last three years. Previous Stolpman buyers, by Pete's request, get First Dibs. Then come high-end Syrah enthusiasts, followed by the California collector segment … if we get that far.

Hopefully we've done better this morning than we did with the 2009 "Angeli" last year. Trust us, those "Sold Out" messages annoy us as much as they annoy you.

Tasting Notes

2010 Stolpman Vineyards Angeli Red Wine Santa Ynez Valley
"(a selection of the best 300-liter barrels): Bright ruby-red. Kaleidoscopic nose offers scents of dark berries, smoked duck, mocha, brown spices, brown sugar and espresso; for the second consecutive vintage I was reminded of Guigal's La Landonne. Lush, fat, seamless and very deep, with harmonious ripe acidity framing the pliant dark berry and spice flavors. The powerful, extremely long, fruit-driven finish coats the palate with dusty tannins and a note of violet face powder. Wonderfully harmonious and vibrant wine, and distinctly lower in alcohol at 14.1% than the outstanding 2009 (15.3%)"
95 points – Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

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