Giving Syrah ‘the old college try’ – ’04 ’05 ’06

EstateSyrahVert2In 2012, I was able to identify and focus on the US markets that demand Stolpman Estate Syrah at arm’s length; the towns where Syrah flows at every great bistro and farm-fresh cafe. We’re close to updating the ‘Trade’ section of our website with our new distributor list, so Sommeliers can easily track down Stolpman wine and quench The People’s thirst.
In looking at our best markets, I also came to the realization that there were some frustrating holes, namely New York City, where it appeared I was losing the Battle for Syrah. I had to make a couple tough decisions to end long distributor relationships in search of leaner, more focused ambassadors.
The most joyous of surprises occurred out of an oversight on my part. When we made the switch to Sussex Fine Wine in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware, the company also took over Pennsylvania, a notoriously over regulated and generally abysmal wine market. Without giving PA a second thought, I signed over brand registration and hit the streets of Manhattan to sell wine.
A month later, I got a call from our old distributor in Philadelphia. With one glance at caller ID, I realized I had handled the changeover quite rudely. limestonehillcuveeBack in the day, in the age of Limestone Hill Cuvee, the tiny PA distributor would place a couple small orders per year to supply a few Philly restaurants. I remember when the owner came out and had dinner at my parents’ house while I was still in High School. I hadn’t thought to call the guy to notify him of the change in representation as he hadn’t ordered in ages. The last time we had talked, he told me it was impossible to sell Syrah in Pennsylvania, and in my mind, he was telling me, “So Long, and Good Luck in your uphill Battle for Syrah!”
After all, we don’t have any Bordeaux varietals left on the vineyard to sell to him!
I picked up the phone ready to apologize for not giving him the courtesy of a phone call before the switch. He informed me that the state controls wine sales to the point that because Sussex was now selling Stolpman, it would be against the law for him to sell his remaining inventory. To which, I responded, “what inventory? You haven’t ordered anything!”
estatesyrahvertMinutes later I was frantically replying to his Inventory email: I wanted to buy back all of his stock. From his list it appeared that he gave Syrah a college try in the years after we discontinued Limestone Hill Cuvee: He had about a dozen cases each of 2004, 2005, and 2006 Estate Syrah sitting in his refrigerated warehouse. I immediately sent him a check to buy it all back.
2004 was our big lush break-out vintage, while 2005 shows even smoother textures, and 2006 was tightly wound upon release but has turned into a sexy stunner. We’d drunk our library supplies down to nothing and now, after we checked the condition of all the bottles, we have the opportunity to re-release these perfectly aged specimens to our wine club!
This truly is a once in a lifetime event for our winery. As our devoted customers know, all Stolpman Syrahs unfurl and flesh out over the five years after release. We constantly tell people to cellar their purchases, and here’s our chance to give you our wine nearing the height of its potential!  Use this link to read more about these wine or to grab a bottle or two for your next indulgence!
Enjoy!