Stolpman Vineyards’ two entry level white wines, Sauvignon Blanc and Golden Point, exist in two different universes.
Sauvignon Blanc appears straight forward: Clearly the most mainstream varietal produced at Stolpman Vineyards, the wine is pressed and aged only in stainless steel. Sashi inhibits secondary fermentation to create a crisp, pure profile and the wine is filtered, because God Forbid, an unsuspecting punter sees clouds in his Sauvignon Blanc!
Stolpman’s simplest wine is also our easiest to sell. Every restaurant needs a Sauvignon Blanc on the By the Glass list. Two restaurants alone, Geoffrey’s in Malibu and Wit and Wisdom in the Four Seasons Baltimore, pour about a quarter of our production each year as the sun-kissed clientele gaze at the Pacific Ocean and the Inner-Harbor respectively.
Santa Ynez Valley Sauvignon Blancs have been getting quite a bit of attention lately, even attracting the attention of Wine Spectator. Veteran Vineyard Manager Jeff Newton explains the appeal of SYV Sauv Blanc: “Regardless of varietal, it is very difficult to consistently achieve yields above 5 tons an acre in this AVA, even with irrigation. This means that the base-line level of quality for Sauvignon Blanc is automatically higher than more fertile CA regions that extract 12-13 tons/acre.”
Lower yields simply mean more flavor; and in an age of greedy multi-national corporate cash-croppers, conservative yields equate to a distinctly different, more concentrated style. As Dad says, “Stolpman Sauvignon Blanc tastes the way SB used to taste, not these re-branded descriptors like ‘grass’ and ‘cat pee’, SB will always have citrus notes and singing acid, but it’s Ok for the wine to be pleasant instead of searing.”
Of course, Stolpman Vineyards isn’t just any ordinary plot. The reason Tom Stolpman, Jeff Newton, Ruben Solorzano, and Sashi Moorman unanimously voted to plant SB is because of the rare Limestone slab the vineyard sits upon. Just like the world’s greatest Sauv Blanc region, the Loire Valley, chalky white rock grants layers of minerality to the otherwise straight-forward grape.
The fresh, delicious 2012 bursts with grape fruit sorbet aromas. It will be gone in a flash, just like the 2011.
And then there’s Stolpman Vineyards’ other White, Golden Point, that debuted with the 2010 vintage.
My interpretation of Sashi’s thought process:
“Let’s take Roussanne, one of the most esoteric white varietals on the planet, and then blend in other varietals that originated in separate corners of France and to my knowledge, have never been blended together into one wine, and make a go of it”
Me: “And I’m supposed to sell this to distributors?”
Rajat Parr happened to be in the winery that day, “Don’t worry Pete, it’s delicious.”
Of course it’s Delicious! And the 2011 is even better than the 2010. Seductively approachable, creamy but not over the top. The frost-reduced yields of 2011 heighten the fruit concentration, kicking the French Oak to the backseat.
Golden Point is actually not at all frivolous. This blend has been almost a decade in coming, as Ruben planted one acre of Chardonnay with the sole intention of creating a high-acid blending component for the wine.
As Stolpman approached 18 acres of Roussanne under vine, Sashi wanted the ability to blend the portion of Roussanne that was just too rich and opulent, deep GOLD in color; with higher-toned, punchy earlier picked varietals to a POINT of balance.
So in 2010 Golden Point was 64% Roussanne, 21% Chardonnay, and 15% Sauvignon Blanc. In 2011, Sashi had more confidence in the Roussanne and only blended in 7% Chardonnay and 7% Sauvignon Blanc. He also dropped 4% Viognier into the blend for a heightened stone fruit kick.
Even if folks are wary of the unusual blend, once tasted, the wine wins them over.
One sommelier reacted “now that is some delicious cougar juice!”
Seeing the expression of shock on my face he clarified, “No, it’s not your typical oaky chardonnay Cali cougar juice. This is for some seductive, sophisticated bomb shell with great taste in low-cut dresses and sports cars. This wine is going to be a hit on the patio.”
So what’s the conclusion?
Whether it’s the pedestrian, varietal Sauv Blanc or the unprecedented, out-there Golden Point blend; both of these affordable white wines will be enjoyed all over the country this summer!