In order to further understand the consequence of each plow, snip, and touch he takes among the vines, Ruben decided to make wine.
Over the past 15 years, Ruben’s intensive interaction with Sashi has enlightened him to barely distinguishable consequences of timing and care in each of the Stolpman Vineyards micro blocks. In order to branch out and learn anew, Ruben purchased fruit from some of the other vineyards under his management. Of course, being the boss, he was able to cherry pick from his favorite blocks.
In Ruben’s words, “to make sure I didn’t screw anything up”, Ruben made each of his wines under the supervision of the Stolpman winemaking team.
Today, we are proud to debut his first efforts, 15 cases of 2008 Refugio Ranch Petite Sirah Santa Ynez Valley AVA and 19 cases of 2009 Harrison Clarke Syrah Ballard Canyon AVA.
It turns out Ruben’s intuitive sense for farming translates to a natural knack for winemaking. And lucky for us, Ruben didn’t mind sitting on this tiny amount of inventory for five years until the wines would shine at their brightest. I’ve been lucky enough to try these two wines over the years since bottling, and I’m thrilled to taste how they’ve developed. Here are my notes:
2008 Refugio Ranch Vineyard Petite Sirah
Perhaps the richest wine I’ve tasted from Santa Barbara County, the 2008 Petite Sirah coats the palate with pleasing, Petite Sirah warmth. No doubt the tiny, intense yields and extreme heat spikes of 2008 led to such a big, thick Petite Sirah. The lush nose of dark tar, ripe berry, and baking spice gives way to beautiful blackness singed with fresh mint and pine. Not surprisingly, a healthy layer of sediment lies in wait at the bottom of each unfiltered bottle. 15 cases available.
2009 Harrison Clarke Vineyard Syrah
An intense nose of red and purple fruit carries a wild Syrah rawness. An image of a large whole animal roasting on a medieval spit immediately comes to mind. In the mouth, the mature wine shows silky, yet present tannin and a naughty kick of spice. While elegant, the mouthfeel allows for intriguing depth and soulfulness. Harrison Clarke Vineyard lies at high elevation along the Northern rim of Ballard Canyon where the wines ripen early with robust fruit flavors.
We didn’t struggle to come up with a name: Hecho Por Ruben – made by Ruben. Ruben cultivated these wines from planting through bottling.
For the label, Ruben asked for an image of the Cathedral nearest his home in Jalisco; a nod to the good fortune he has had in his journey from subsistent farming to vineyard management and winemaking.
Both wines are released to Stolpman wine club members and are forecasted to be sold out upon release.