Reserve Club Newsletter- Winter 2021



Happy New Year!  There is no way around it- 2020 wasn’t the year any of us expected.  We all know what we as a society had to collectively endure, and there is no need to rehash it.  Instead, we’d like to highlight some of the positives that we at Sunstone took away from the year as we look ahead to an exciting 2021!

TOP 3 Positives FROM 2020
  1. SUPPORT FROM OUR MEMBERS– Not only did you sustain us through your continued membership, but also through additional purchases online, over the phone, and at the Tasting Room.  You weathered the storm with us and quite literally kept Sunstone alive during the four months we were not able to be open.  Please know that your loyalty to Sunstone during those tough times will never be forgotten and will be rewarded in the future.
  2. RECORD HARVEST– 2020’s grape harvest is shaping up to be one of our best.  Our winemakers and cellar team brought in a record 249 tons of premium quality fruit not only from our own Estate vineyard but from 15 esteemed vineyards throughout Santa Barbara County.  We were also spared the wildfire damage that our colleagues in other wine regions experienced.  You can look forward to enjoying the whites and rosés from 2020 beginning in March and the reds in 2022.
  3. RECOGNITION OF OUR WINE QUALITY– One of the greatest validations of a wine’s quality is when a respected, third party publication rates a wine at 90 or above.  We are proud that in 2020 seven of our wines received 90+ ratings, including our 2017 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon being featured as part of Wine & Spirits magazine’s “Best U.S. Cabernets of 2020”.  In addition, three of our wines were included in Wine Enthusiast magazine’s “Best of the Year 2020” Buying Guide.  It is great to see our winemaking team’s hard work and focus on producing exceptional wines be nationally recognized.

We can all see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel and look forward to returning to some semblance of normalcy by mid-year.  We hope to be able to open for tasting again soon and we are patiently waiting to make several exciting announcements about member events, benefits and special projects.

In the meantime, getting a bottle of the new Eros is a great way to start the year!  As longtime members know, the February shipment is the most anticipated release of the year because it includes Eros, our coveted, flagship Bordeaux blend!  As you know, due to health department orders we are currently closed for wine tasting and open only for curbside pickup.  But we are holding out hope that we’ll be able to open for tasting before release weekend on February 12th.  Stay tuned to your email and social media for more updates!

Thank you again for your continued support.  Read below for more details on all of the wines in your upcoming release. Cheers!




Retail: $45

GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE100% Sauvignon Blanc
Refugio Ranch Vineyard
Acidity: 6.24g/L
Alcohol: 14.5%
4 months in 57% Stainless Steel and 43% neutral American oak

TASTING NOTESAromatically inviting, with a complex nose of lemon gelato, starfruit and honeydew mixed with spicy notes of white pepper and coriander and sweet baked character reminiscent of vanilla cupcakes. Citrus notes like lemon and kaffir limes meet with mineral character and wet stone on the palate, with layered textures that lead to a refreshing, lingering finish.
WINEMAKINGGrapes for our 2019 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve were harvested from Refugio Ranch, both East and Westside. Our blend of each side of the vineyard was 57% east and 43% west side. The soil, minerals, sun, climate are slightly different, and both add a great acidity and fruit balance.
The grapes were hand harvested, whole cluster pressed, fermented and 57% of the wine were aged in a stainless tank and the other 43% was fermented in neutral American oak for four months, which added a light oak tannin texture to caramelize the finish. Just 117 cases were bottled.

FOOD PAIRINGThis Reserve Sauvignon Blanc has light spicy notes of white pepper that will complement the various flavors and spices in Thai dishes such as Thai Basil Salmon Curry. This wines generous tropical flavors also give it a kick that make it a nice match for dishes with garlic or herbs. We recommend trying it with slow-cooked Herbed Chicken and Rice with a Lemon – Garlic Glaze.
CELLARINGThe 2019 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve can be enjoyed now and for the next 9-12 months. It is not a candidate for long term aging.


2018 EROS

Retail: $75

GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE76% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon
Sunstone Estate Vineyard
Acidity: 6.04g/L
Alcohol: 14.6%
27 months in 30% new and 70% neutral French oak
TASTING NOTESBeautiful floral nose with aromas of peony and sweet lilac complemented by notes of boysenberries, blueberries, star anise and subtle toasted oak. Weighty and balanced on the palate with grippy tannins, featuring intense rich berries, cocoa, coffee bean, and a long peppery finish.
WINEMAKINGEros is our flagship Right Bank Bordeaux-inspired blend made up of fruit entirely from the Sunstone Estate, including Merlot from four blocks which was fermented separately and then blended into the Eros 4-6 months after fermentation. Our Estate grapes were hand harvested the day of crush, cold soaked 2-3 days and fermented individually per varietal for 12-14 days and then pressed to barrel for settling and aging. We rack our barrels once before we decide on the final blend and really enjoy aging our wines in 20-30% New French Oak to add cedar, tobacco char and espresso expression. Our winemaking team aged the wine in 30% new French Oak for 27 months. The wine was blended, filtered and bottled to 678 cases in December 2020.
FOOD PAIRINGThis Right Bank Bordeaux-inspired blend can be paired with Grilled Tenderloin with Chanterelle Mushrooms served with Asparagus and Garlic Artichoke Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes.
CELLARINGThe 2018 Eros can be enjoyed now and may be enhanced for up to an additional 10-15 years if stored in proper conditions.



Retail: $65

GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE100% Petit Verdot
Partner vineyard in northern Santa Barbara County
Acidity: 6.30g/L
Alcohol: 14.5%
15 months in 15% new/85% neutral French oak
TASTING NOTESRich, dark aromas of plums, elderberry, Rooibos tea, and medicinal herbs with accents of thyme and cloves on the nose. Smooth palate with earthy character highlighted by black currants, dried tobacco, and salted beet chips, merged with notes of cherry cola and fennel and an extended finish.
WINEMAKINGPetit Verdot is a classic stand-alone Bordeaux varietal known for blending with Left Bank Bordeaux blends. The grapes for this wine were harvested from six vineyards in Los Alamos in northern Santa Barbara County. Our grapes were hand harvested the day of crush, cold soaked 2-3 days and fermented for 14-18 days and then pressed to barrel for settling and aging in French Oak barrels for 15 months prior to being filtered and bottled December 2020. The wine was filtered and bottled to just 96 cases in December 2020.
FOOD PAIRINGPetit Verdot pairs extremely well with lamb. Try having a glass (or two!) with some lamb stew to really bring out the flavors. The intense flavors of Petit Verdot combine well with mushrooms, truffles, black beans, and kidney beans. It’s also suitable to pair it with dishes that include olives, eggplant, and nuts. try pairing Petit Verdot with aged and smoked cheeses. Aged cheddar, gruyere, and gouda are particularly well suited to this wine. Lamb Stew w/ Purple Sweet Potatoes, Dried Apricots and Black-Eyed Peas served with Saffron Rice and Roasted Fennel is a great pairing.
CELLARINGThe 2019 Petit Verdot Reserve can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 5-8 years if stored in proper conditions.



Retail: $65

GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE52% Syrah, 24% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot, 9% Grenache
Six different vineyards in the Los Alamos and the Santa Ynez Valley, including the Sunstone Estate vineyard
Acidity: 5.75g/L
Alcohol: 14.6%
27 months in 18% new and 82% neutral French oak
TASTING NOTESVibrant aromas of ripe blueberries, fresh bell peppers, leather and Earl Gray tea with floral notes of sweet jasmine and violets. Dry on the palate with round tannins and a unique mix of rhubarb, plums, smoked herbs, and chamomile leading to an enjoyable finish of berries, cloves, and spices.
WINEMAKINGThe 2018 Carmelo is a non-traditional blend of Rhone and Bordeaux varietals, and consists of grapes harvested from six vineyards in Santa Ynez Valley and Los Alamos, including the Sunstone Estate vineyard. The name “Carmelo” originates from the Hebrew word “karmel” which means “Vineyard of God”. The grapes for Carmelo were hand harvested the day of crush, cold soaked 2-3 days and fermented individually per varietal for 12-14 days and then pressed to barrel for settling and aging. For this vintage we chose to blend only four months prior to bottle to allow each Rhone and Bordeaux varietal wine to mature with the oak tannin characters separately so the Rhone and Bordeaux oak had time to express the characters into each wine. In total, the wine was aged for 27 months in 18% new and 82% neutral French oak. We filtered and bottled it in December 2020. Just 100 cases were produced.
FOOD PAIRINGSpicy Coconut Chicken Curry w/ Cranberry and Butternut Basmati Rice
CELLARINGThe 2018 Carmelo can be enjoyed now and may be enhanced for up to an additional 8-10 years if stored in proper conditions.