“One of the Better Wines From the Region on the Market”
One of the most sensational California reds of the year — the 2016 Stolpman Vineyards “Para Maria” Proprietary Red just landed a 93-point Editors’ Choice score from Wine Enthusiast AND earned a coveted spot on the magazine’s Top 100 Wines of 2017. That Stolpman Vineyards are renowned for some of the greatest wines of Santa Barbara is evident. Robert Parker has noted, “Stolpman Vineyards continues to produce impressive wines under the guidance of the highly regarded Santa Ynez winemaker, Sashi Moorman.” This stunning, powerful red blend is the result of Moorman’s whole-cluster pressing of cherry-picked fruit from Santa Barbara’s best sites. Add to that a beautiful 2016 vintage in Ballard Canyon, which delivered wines of depth, dense richness, and suppleness. First offered before the critics weighed in, if you locked into our first allocation, good for you. If not, this might be it now that the accolades have spoken. This Stolpman effort ranks at the top of our list of California’s finest under-$20 bottles of the year.
Stolpman’s Ruben Solorzano — the man Wine Enthusiast editors have nicknamed “The Grape Whisperer” — not only manages the land at Stolpman Vineyards, he also works on nearly every major Ballard Canyon vineyard for the likes of Jonata, Larner, Rusack, Kimsey, Harrison Clarke, Boa Vista, and others. Ballard Canyon is home to many of California’s best Rhône-styled wines, and Solorzano is the AVA’s hardest working man. He’s also a night owl, taking advantage of Santa Barbara’s chilly nights to harvest nocturnally and preserve the berries’ scintillating acid vibrancy. Equipped with a headlamp and a smile, he presides over dry-farmed, head-pruned vines that call to mind the Northern Rhône slopes of Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage.
Solorzano and acclaimed Stolpman winemaker Sashi Moorman played the 2016 vintage perfectly. Any California winemaker will tell you that the defining event of the vintage was a severe heat spike in late September. Those who harvested after had to contend with accumulated sugars and lower acids. Those who picked before were treated to BB-sized berries of exquisite brightness and a suave density guaranteeing excellent cellaring potential. A newly minted beauty, the 2016 Stolpman “Para Maria” Red has it all — opulence, vibrancy, silken texture, and great length. Get your share now before every bottle leaves the Stolpman cellars for good.