AN EXTENDED HARVEST & NEW VARIETALS
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” Some sources attribute this quote to Aristotle, while others claim it was Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In either case, this sentiment perfectly encapsulates the 2021 Harvest so far. It has been a delayed harvest across most of Santa Barbara wine country for everyone, including Sunstone. While our region enjoys one of the most consistent and predictable grape growing climates in the world, sometimes Mother Nature can be fickle. Everything from temperatures to sunlight to precipitation can dictate when the fruit is ready to be picked. This year, it is taking a lot longer than normal for the grapes to be ready, resulting in about 60% of our crop still hanging on the vine in mid-October.
But, harkening back to the quote above, the great news is that as we patiently wait for the bulk of the grapes to be ready, the fruit that has come in so far has been superb. When all is said and done, our winemakers and cellar team anticipate bringing in a record 275+ tons of premium quality fruit not only from our own Estate vineyard but 15 other esteemed vineyards throughout Santa Barbara County and Paso Robles. You can look forward to enjoying the whites and rosés from this harvest early next year and the reds in 2023.
In the meantime, we trust that you are enjoying our 2018 through 2020 vintages you have received in your last few wine shipments. We are proud that NINE of these wines have received 90+ ratings from nationally known, independent wine critics in 2021. In fact, if you pick up the current (October) issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine you will see our 2018 Eros was named a “Cellar Selection” with a 91 rating.
On to the details of your next wine shipment! In addition to our highly regarded Estate Merlot and Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, we are introducing two new Reserve wines: a Rhone-style white blend called “Heart Tree”; and our first-ever Malbec Reserve. Read below for more details on all of the wines in your upcoming release.
Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to seeing you at the Estate soon. Cheers!
WINES INCLUDED IN THIS SHIPMENT:
2020 HEART TREE Reserve (MIXED CLUBS ONLY)
|GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE||65% Roussanne, 21% Marsanne, 14% Viognier|
La Presa and Bolton Vineyards, Los Olivos District
|TECHNICAL SPECS||pH: 3.64|
Acidity: 4.9 g/L
12 months in 14% new/86% neutral French oak
|TASTING NOTES||Delightful nose of pineapple, jasmine, and lemon zest accompanied by subtle aromas of toasted coconut and almonds. Light and round on the palate with notes of basil, cinnamon stick, green apple, and lemon butter leading to a crisp, citrusy finish.|
|WINEMAKING||In late January 2021, a massive rain and wind storm whipped through the Santa Ynez Valley, leaving a lot of destruction and debris in its path. Unfortunately, one of the storm's casualties was the beloved "Heart Tree" in the middle of our lawn. The loss of the Heart Tree was saddening as it had been the site of many proposals, nuptials, and photo memories. Given that this tree was such a big part of Sunstone history over the past 30 years, we decided to commemorate it with a Reserve wine. |
The grapes for the 2020 Heart Tree blend, all white Rhone varietals, come from two local, family-owned vineyards in the Los Olivos District of Santa Ynez Valley- La Presa and Bolton. The soil types that the vines are planted in are sandy loam and clay which offers a subtle minerality and cold, chalky character. The grapes were hand harvested in September 2020 and whole cluster pressed separately. The juice was transferred to stainless steel barrels and tanks for two days to settle, and then racked to stainless portable tanks for a 10-day fermentation using Rhone style yeast. The wine was racked off lees and barreled to 14% New French Oak, where it stayed until being bottled to 189 cases in August 2021.
|FOOD PAIRING||Warm Rich Pork Cabbage Soup with Potatoes, Carrots and Tuscan Beans|
|CELLARING||The 2020 Heart Tree Reserve can be enjoyed now and for the next 12-24 months. It is not a candidate for long term aging.|
2019 MERLOT RESERVE, ESTATE
|GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE||100% Merlot|
Sunstone Estate Vineyard
|TECHNICAL SPECS||pH: 3.68|
Acidity: 5.0 g/L
22 months in 30% new/70% neutral French oak
|TASTING NOTES||Pleasant aromas of lavender, fresh plums and underripe blueberries are accented by spice and mineral notes. Fine-grained tannins combine with brisk acidity on the palate with notes of pink peppercorns, blackberry, molasses, Earl grey tea leaf and a lengthy finish.|
|WINEMAKING||The 2019 Merlot was hand harvested from Sunstone’s Estate Vineyard in Santa Ynez Valley in mid to late October 2019. Each block of Merlot was fermented individually and later blended, beginning with trial blends to the final Merlot Estate blend. During harvest the grapes were crushed and transferred to a chilled tank for three days to settle and cold soak for extra extraction during the macerations from the pump overs and punch downs, helping the wine develop more body, character, pigment, aroma, texture, and overall balance. The juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks and bins for 10-12 days and racked to 100% French oak barrels (30% new/70% neutral). The wine was aged for 22 months before being bottled to 535 cases in August 2021.|
|FOOD PAIRING||Moroccan Lamb Curry over a bed of jasmine rice seasoned with garlic, lemongrass, cilantro basil pesto with a side of roasted potatoes, bell peppers.|
|CELLARING||The 2019 Merlot Reserve, Estate can be enjoyed now and for an additional 8-12 years if stored in proper conditions.|
2019 CABERNET SAUVIGNON, ESTATE
|GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE||100% Cabernet Sauvignon|
Sunstone Estate Vineyard
|TECHNICAL SPECS||pH: 3.87|
Acidity: 5.6 g/L
22 months in 30% new/70% neutral French oak
|TASTING NOTES||Spice aromas and floral character on the nose with notes of blackberry, red currants, crushed peppercorns, and tobacco. Plush tannins and a smooth mouthfeel on the midpalate with abundant dark fruit notes and a rich, smoky finish.|
|WINEMAKING||Our 2019 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon was hand harvested from the Sunstone Estate in late October 2019. During harvest the grapes were crushed and transferred to a chilled tank for three days to settle and cold soak for extra extraction during the macerations from the pump overs and punch downs, helping the wine develop more body, character, pigment, aroma, texture, and overall balance. The juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks and bins for 12 days and racked to tight-grain 100% French oak barrels (30% new/70% neutral) with M to M+ toasting, where it was aged for 22 months before being bottled to 95 cases in August 2021.|
|FOOD PAIRING||Spicy Bison Sweet Potato Skillet w/ Leeks, Fennel, Arugula, Habanero Peppers, Grilled Onions, Mushrooms over a Saffron Lime Garlic Basmati Rice.|
|CELLARING||The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate can be enjoyed now and for an additional 10-15 years if stored in proper conditions.|
2019 MALBEC RESERVE
|GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE||100% Malbec|
Valley View Vineyard
|TECHNICAL SPECS||pH: 3.68 |
Acidity: 5.8 g/L
22 months in a combination of French and American oak (25% new/75% neutral)
|TASTING NOTES||Beautifully balanced nose of dark fruit, spice, and mineral character, highlighted by notes of dark cherry, boysenberry jam, pepper, and cloves. Chocolate, roasted coffee beans, and dark plum are showcased on the front and mid palate with notes of fig and tobacco leading to a long, gratifying finish.|
|WINEMAKING||The 2019 Malbec was hand harvested in mid-October 2019 from Valley View Vineyard in Santa Ynez Valley, a hilltop vineyard that produces outstanding Bordeaux varietals. The grapes were crushed and transferred to a chilled tank for three days to settle and cold soak for extra extraction during the macerations of the pump overs in tank. The juice was fermented in stainless steel for 12-14 days and racked to a combination of 85% French and 15% American oak barrels, 25% of which were new. The wines were aged 22 months before being bottled to 269 cases in August 2021.|
|FOOD PAIRING||Grass-feed Beef Savory Tarts with Fennel, Shitake Mushroom, Grilled Onion, and Melted Manchego Cheese|
|CELLARING||The 2019 Malbec Reserve can be enjoyed now and for an additional 5-8 years if stored in proper conditions.|