The stars aligned in 2012. After two cold vintages filled with extremes, Mother Nature mellowed and gave us a brilliantly even growing season. Artisans worked all summer fabricating our new concrete fermenters. The thick, naturally-insulating tanks enabled us to gently extract every delicate nuance from the happy grapes.
In short, 2012 eschewed in a whole new chapter for Stolpman Vineyards. Today, as we taste the wines maturing in bottle, it’s clear the vintage certainly delivered an unprecedented level of quality for our winery.
Still bright and fresh with seductively vibrant fruit, the textures through the mouth have integrated to smoothly coat through the finish. Wines from 2012 have just entered their peak – the plateau on top of the aging chart when the fruit still pops with energy, but the tactile roughness of youth becomes feathery and utterly delicious.
In order to understand why 2012 is such a benchmark vintage – besides the perfect weather – we need to look back further at the history of Stolpman Vineyards.
Stolpman Vineyards Version 1.0 est. 1990
Tom Stolpman purchased our property in 1990 and then took the “shotgun approach” in planting 18 different varietals. We planted more of the grapes that worked, but had to rip out any varietals that we discovered were mismatched to our Ballard Canyon micro-climate. A long and expensive process.
Stolpman Vineyards Version 2.0 est. 2001
After selling most of our fruit to other winemakers, in 2001 Tom hired Sashi Moorman and built out our winery space in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto. Not only did we start making Stolpman wines, but we began our dry farming experiments and transitioned towards organic farming.
Stolpman Vineyards Version 3.0 est 2012
After a couple years of working alongside Rajat Parr, we halted sulfur additions to our ferments and introduced old-word concrete tanks. Ballard Canyon AVA was approved just in time to unveil the Ballard Canyon Syrah bottle and we debuted our refreshed Ballard Canyon label for the 2012 vintage.
Stolpman Vineyards Version 4.0 est. 2017
Looking forward, the new, super-high-density head-pruned Mourvedre and Cornas vineyards come on line in 2017. Perhaps we will see another Benchmark vintage this year!