Stolpman Vineyards Para Maria 2017 | Fruit Forward, Lavish & Balanced
Opaque purple-ruby core with a bright ruby rim. Ripe and expressive on the nose, redolent with juicy red plums, loganberries, lavender, cracked peppercorn, and violets. The palate is pure satin. While packed with lavish dark cherries and pomegranate, with a hint of dried sage, framed by supple tannins. Yet forward and fruity, the overall balance gives the wine a lingering and fresh finish. Drink this Stolpman Vineyards Para Maria 2017 now-2028.
While in previous years, the traditional Syrah comprised the majority of the blend. But in 2017 the “bookend” portions of the wine were bumped up. Hence, achieving both more intensity and lift. The Syrah (increased from 28% carbonic maceration to now 40%) was picked below the growing season’s heatwave at lower sugars. As a result, infusing the wine with tantalizing freshness. Ten days later they picked the riper, fleshy traditional Syrah (40%). This lending what Stolpman calls the “opulent, bigger, hedonistic ‘wow’ factor. Lastly, Petit Verdot was upped from 15% to 20%, granting the wine its inky depth and mouthcoating texture.
Most of all, the resulting Stolpman Vineyards Para Maria 2017 is a total showstopper. While packed to the hilt with deep, dark Rhône concentration—one of our favorite Stolpman releases in years!
Ruben Solorzano | “The Grape Whisperer”
Stolpman’s Ruben Solorzano — the man Wine Enthusiast editors have nicknamed “The Grape Whisperer. Ruben not only manages the land at Stolpman Vineyards, but he also works on nearly every major Ballard Canyon vineyard. Including 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. Of course, taking advantage of Santa Barbara’s chilly nights to harvest nocturnally. And in addition, preserve the berries’ scintillating acid vibrancy. Equipped with a headlamp and a smile, he presides over dry-farmed, head-pruned vines. The vineyards call too mind the Northern Rhône slopes of Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage.
Winemaker Sashi Moorman
So Solorzano and acclaimed Stolpman winemaker Sashi Moorman played the 2016 vintage perfectly. California winemakers will tell you that the defining event of the vintage was a severe heat spike in late September. While 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. Finally, the Stolpman Vineyards Para Maria 2017 has it all. Definitely opulence, vibrancy, silken texture, and great length.