From Stevie Wonder & Paul McCartney, to Paula Abdul & MC Skat Kat, even the king of pop himself taught us to ‘believe in miracles, it don’t matter if you’re black or white’. The blending of these creative powerhouse singer/songwriters to write together, to inspire tolerance, balance & stability – taught us that opposites really do attract. These are all lessons that the folks over in Cote Rotie have been practicing for over 500 years with their winemaking. From the ‘roasted slope’ of France to the ‘roasting plains’ of Australia – everyone’s doing it (& drinking it too). It’s an unholy union where red meets white – Which brings Stolpman to one of our most important decisions of the year… the blending of our flagship Estate Syrah – 2011. Our singular pursuit: to find the most delicious varietal composition possible. Drum roll, please… & the final blend of the 2011 Estate Syrah is…
1% Viognier (co-fermented)
That’s right folks, we blended Roussanne, our beautiful golden child, into our inky red Syrah! Who does that? Sure, winemakers are allowed to do it in Hermitage and Chateau Neuf du Pape, but not many of those folks are willing to admit their secret Golden Ingredient! Picked in November, our beautiful rust colored Roussanne, adds richness to the already bold 2011 Syrah. The Roussanne intensifies the perfume and fresh berry aroma of the wine while adding another cushioning layer over the graphite and tannin on the finish. Because the tannins become so fine, the 2011 already drinks great even though it’s just a baby!
This isn’t the first time we’ve employed Roussanne in one of our Syrahs. Sashi put all of the 2006 Hilltops Syrah onto L’Avion lees for the last 7 months of aging. The cooler year Syrah received a kick of lush, roundness from the Roussanne-soaked skin particles. 2006 Hilltops continues to improve with age & continues to be one of my Dad’s favorite Stolpman wines ever made.
Flash forward to the intense 2011 vintage, and Sashi saw the opportunity to give the rich, vibrant Syrah another sensual tactile layer through the addition of Roussanne. The concentrated profile of the 2011 reflects the frost-reduced yields in which each plant focused all of its energy on about a third less grape clusters. Possibly because of the shortened growing season, the vintage reflects some of our cooler climate neighbors. Specifically, Sashi says the 2011 reminds him of the famed Saxum Rim Rock Vineyard, especially in the depth of the palate and the black raspberry fruit.
Whether folks realize they are drinking an unusual blend or not, the 2011 Estate Syrah will most certainly go down in the Stolpman Vineyards history books as one of our best!
2011 Estate Syrah is released as of today!. This blog post was co-written with Kari Crist.