Happy Harvest Season!
It’s that magical time of the year when the vineyard comes alive with the season’s first grapes being plucked at peak ripeness before continuing their journey to our cellar where they will be handcrafted into award-winning wines.
Our 2023 Harvest kicked off here at the Sunstone Estate last week with the picking of our Viognier and Merlot from the A and B blocks at the entrance of the Estate. This year’s Harvest started about two weeks later than normal due to our region’s cooler-than-normal growing season that slowed ripening. This is the complete opposite of last year’s Harvest when extreme heat caused us to start a few weeks earlier than normal.
This year’s Harvest season will culminate with our 2nd Annual Haunted Ball on Saturday, October 28th! This year’s event will be “Dia De Los Muertos” themed with ‘Day of the Dead’ inspired cocktails, dancing and music by DJ Fess, delicious bites, and prizes for the best costumes. Learn more and purchase tickets.
Then, one week later is our Fall Club Release Weekend from November 3rd to 5th when your new wine shipment will be available for pickup. If you haven’t been to the Estate lately, now is the perfect time to visit and enjoy our newly refurbished spaces, additional restrooms, upgraded courtyards, and fire pits to warm you up as the weather begins to cool down.
Looking ahead, please stay tuned to your email and social media over the next month for some exciting announcements about our plans for 2024!
On to the details of your next shipment, which has something for every taste. In addition to our highly regarded Estate Merlot, you’ll be receiving our Rhone-style white blend Symphonie (mixed clubs only), an outstanding Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir sourced from an elite vineyard, and a popular red Reserve that has been aged an additional year. Please read on for the winemaking details and tasting notes of all the wines in your upcoming release.
Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to seeing you at the Estate soon. Cheers!
2022 Symphonie du Soleil
|Grape Blend and Source||60% Viognier, 31% Grenache Blanc, 5% Picpoul Blanc, 4% Roussane|
Three vineyards in Santa Ynez Valley and Alisos Canyon
|Technical Specs||PH: 3.41|
Acidity: 6.3 g/L
10 months in Stainless Steel
|Winemaking Notes||The grapes for our 2022 Symphonie were hand-harvested from three vineyards- one in Alisos Canyon AVA in northern Santa Barbara County, and two in Santa Ynez Valley, within two miles of the Sunstone Estate. Our team pressed each lot separately as each vineyard was harvested and then fermented for 8-12 days before racking to two-year-old French oak barrels. Our winemaker’s yeasts of choice were BA11 & Rhone 4600, which enhance sensory notes of tropical fruit, pineapple, guava, apricot, grapefruit, and floral characters of the Viognier varietal for a more aromatic balance. Symphonie was then aged in stainless steel tanks for ten months before bottling to 150 cases in August 2023.|
|Tasting Notes||Tightly woven aromas of grapefruit, chamomile, and lemon zest mesh perfectly with flowery notes of peony blossom in this Reserve bottling. Restrained acidity on the palate enables the beautiful flavors of kiwi berries, white nectarine, apple, pear and melon to shine.|
|Food Pairing||White Rhone blends like Symphonie pair well with many Fall favorites, including Cinnamon Apple Fritters and Braised Figs.|
|Cellaring||The 2022 Symphonie Reserve can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 12-18 months if stored in proper conditions. It is not a candidate for long term aging.|
2021 Merlot, Estate
|Grape Blend and Source||100% Merlot|
|Technical Specs||PH: 3.79|
Acidity: 5.6 g/L
22 months in 20% new and 80% neutral French oak barrels
|Winemaking Notes||Sunstone’s 2021 Estate Merlot (blocks A, B, C, and D) were hand-harvested in mid-October 2021. Our team crushed the fruit by blocking A/B and C/D from fermenting into wine. As the wine was racked to barrel, we aged it for six months until we created the final blend by block, including a slight amount of Cabernet Franc for a full body and darker, spicier characters. After each wine was fermented dry, they were settled and racked. We then conducted a final blend using specific percentages of the Merlot blocks. The wine was then aged in 20% new and 80% neutral French oak barrels. Our winemaker’s choice of yeasts were RC212 & BM45, which enhance sensory notes of dark berry, star anise, black pepper, tobacco, and espresso. The wine was sent through malolactic fermentation to reduce the malic acidity. Our 2021 Estate Merlot was bottled to 971 cases in August 2023 after aging for 22 months.|
|Tasting Notes||A sophisticated nose of blackberry, black licorice and fresh plums mingles with aromas of chocolate covered cherries and fresh ground peppercorn. Well integrated tannins on the palate augment the enjoyable notes of dried cherry, cacao, and boysenberries that lead to a pleasurable, extended finish.|
|Food Pairing||Seared Bison Steak with Roasted Beets and Potatoes|
|Cellaring||The 2021 Merlot, Estate can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 6-8 years if stored in proper conditions.|
2019 Pinot Noir Reserve
|Grape Blend and Source||100% Pinot Noir|
Santa Rita Hills
|Technical Specs||PH: 3.65|
Acidity: 6.1 g/L
|Winemaking Notes||Each cluster of our 2019 Pinot Noir Reserve was hand-harvested from an undisclosed site in the Sta. Rita Hills. The fruit was delivered to the winery where it underwent gentle crushing to release the juices and was fermented to dryness with tender love and care. A portion of the stems was included in the ferment to add body and texture to the wine and to ensure its aging potential. Upon completion of fermentation the wine was aged sur lees for a year and a half in neutral oak before being bottled to 155 cases.|
|Tasting Notes||This wine is a delightful blend of aromas, boasting a floral bouquet with hints of hibiscus and a subtle undertone of vanilla. On the palate, it offers a complex fusion of flavors, with notes of earthy truffles and rich cocoa nibs complemented by the vibrant acidity of cherry, raspberry, and pomegranate. The finish is warm and inviting, with a touch of mulling spices that lingers, making it a truly captivating and layered wine experience.|
|Food Pairing||Pan Seared Salmon with Fresh Cherry Almond Sauce|
|Cellaring||The 2019 Pinot Noir Reserve can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 3-4 years if stored in proper conditions.|
2020 Malbec Reserve
|Grape Blend and Source||100% Malbec|
Valley View, Lucas & Lewellen Los Alamos, Coqulicot, and Pear Valley vineyards
|Technical Specs||PH: 3.87|
Acidity: 5.1 g/L
20 months in 10% new American, 20% new French, and 70% neutral oak
|Winemaking Notes||The grapes for our 2020 Malbec Reserve were hand-harvested from four different vineyards, three in Santa Barbara County and one in Paso Robles between the end of September 2020 and the end of October 2020. When the fruit from each vineyard arrived, it was crushed into bins and fermented separately, then pressed 12-14 days later to tank for settling before being racked to 30% new and 70% neutral oak barrels. The wine was blended and then aged for 20 months before being bottled to 582 cases in June 2022.|
|Tasting Notes||Luscious aromas of raspberry preserves, blackberry jam, Earl Grey tea, figs, and vanilla extract on the nose. Round on the palate well-integrated tannins and character of blackberry, raspberry, pepper and currants with sea salt minerality on the finish.|
|Food Pairing||Moroccan Lamb Meatballs|
|Cellaring||The 2020 Malbec Reserve can be enjoyed now and for an additional 5-8 years if stored in proper conditions./td>|