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Reserve Club Newsletter- Winter 2022

Reserve Club Newsletter- Winter 2022

KICKING OFF THE NEW YEAR WITH EROS

Happy New Year!  We hope you and your families are staying safe and healthy as we all continue to navigate the complexities of the ongoing pandemic.  While we are not out of the woods yet, we are happy to be in a much better place to begin 2022 versus last year at this time when we were in the middle of a statewide mandated shutdown.

In our last member newsletter in October, we mentioned that we were still in the middle of harvest and it was trending several weeks later than expected.  The great news is the result was worth the extended wait.  In addition to harvesting 244 tons of grapes from 17 partner vineyards, the Sunstone Estate vineyard produced an additional 88 tons!  This is almost double the 48 tons produced from our Estate in 2020 and bodes extremely well for future harvests.  While the reds won’t be ready until 2023, you can look forward to enjoying the whites and rosés from 2021 starting with the release of our 2021 Sauvignon Blanc in two weeks!

A few weeks after harvest ended, we were thrilled to find out that our 2019 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon was rated 90 and named one of Wine & Spirits magazine’s “Best U.S. Cabernets of 2021” in their December 2021 issue.  This is the second year in a row we have received this prestigious honor.  In total, our wines received ten 90+ ratings from independent publications in 2021!  It is great to see national recognition of our winemaking team’s hard work and focus on producing exceptional wines.

Looking ahead to 2022, we are planning to publish a full calendar of events for the year, including the continuation of our popular “Sunsets at Sunstone” summer extended hours program.  Stay tuned for several exciting announcements about upcoming member events, benefits, and special projects.  Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for the most up to date happenings at Sunstone.

On to the details of your next wine shipment!  As longtime members know, the February shipment is the most anticipated release of the year because it includes Eros, our coveted, flagship Bordeaux blend named for the Greek god of love!  We hope you can all join us for Eros Celebration Weekend from February 11th to 13th.  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 the wines in your upcoming release. Cheers!

WINES INCLUDED IN THIS SHIPMENT:

2020 SAUVIGNON BLANC RESERVE (MIXED CLUBS ONLY)

Retail: $45

GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE100% Sauvignon Blanc
Refugio Ranch Vineyard & Valley View Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley
TECHNICAL SPECSpH: 3.38
Acidity: 6.1 g/L
Alcohol: 14.4%
2 months in Stainless Steel

TASTING NOTESMature wine with a subdued nose of pineapple, honeydew, Iris flower, and various stone fruits. Softening acidity on the palate with pear, grapefruit and citrus character leading to a supple, sustained finish.
WINEMAKINGThe grapes for Sunstone’s 2020 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve were hand harvested from two vineyards in Santa Ynez Valley. We received the fruit from each vineyard within 3-6 days of each other. We then whole-cluster pressed the lots, fermented the juice separately, and blended them together. Our winemaker’s yeast of choice was Ba11 which allows for a more fragrant aroma and characters of tropical fruit, grapefruit, kiwi berry, lemongrass, and white floral aromas. The wine was sent through partial malolactic fermentation (approximately 98%) to reduce the malic acid sharp acidity. Our “two vineyard blend” of Sauvignon Blanc was then aged in 100% stainless steel for two months before being bottled to 219 cases in January 2021.
FOOD PAIRINGHerbed Butter Pan Seared Scallops w/ lemon pepper, lemon juice, garlic, lime basil, cinnamon basil, with a sprinkle of saffron and smoked paprika over a bed of arugula tossed with Tuscan orange olive oil.
CELLARINGThe 2020 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve can be enjoyed now and for the next 6 months. It is not a candidate for long term aging.

 

2019 EROS

Retail: $80

GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE76% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon
Sunstone Estate Vineyard
TECHNICAL SPECSpH: 3.74
Acidity: 5.0 g/L
Alcohol: 14.8% 26 months in 30% new and 70% neutral French oak
TASTING NOTESDecadent nose of blackberry, fig, and huckleberry with warm notes of cinnamon stick and anise and a subtle sweetness. Perfect balance of acidity and tannins on the palate with dark fruit character, cedar, vanilla and coffee notes, and a lasting finish.
WINEMAKINGEros is our flagship Right Bank Bordeaux-inspired blend, named after the Greek god of love, and made of fruit entirely from six blocks of the Sunstone Estate, including Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes for the 2019 Sunstone Eros were hand harvested from from each block separately within 16 days in October 2019. We then crushed the fruit to tank, and barrel aged them in 30% new French oak.


Our winemaker’s yeasts of choice were BM45, D80 and RC212 which accentuate more dominant characters such as dark berry, bright fruit, fruit leather, black pepper, licorice. The combination of these yeasts produces additional textures and characters as the wine is going through fermentation and retains the true chemistry of the phenolics of the wine while brightening the fruit, spice, and clarity of the characters as it ages in the oak tannin. Our oak barrels are specifically sourced per wine tier that Sunstone produces, which adds an additional layer to the wine’s texture, character and aroma depending on the special char of the barrel (cooper, oak forest, char type) that is sourced.

As we created our trial blends we tasted through each merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon block and blended to taste by layering these separately fermented varietals from vineyard terroir, fermentation, specific casks chosen to make this flagship right hand crafted 2019 vintage. This Eros was sent through full malolactic fermentation (approximately 98%) to reduce the malic acid sharp acidity.

Our “six block blended wine” was aged in 30% new French oak casks and 70% neutral French oak barrels for 20 months before being bottled to 814 cases on December 10, 2021.
FOOD PAIRINGSpicy & Smoked orange peel, molasses, brown sugar, thyme Cabernet Franc-glazed spareribs w/braised mustard carrots, dill baked peas, and shredded parmesan over mustard or micro greens.
CELLARINGThe 2019 Eros can be enjoyed now and may be enhanced for up to an additional 10-15 years if stored in proper conditions.

 

2020 PINOT NOIR RESERVE

Retail: $65

GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE100% Pinot Noir
Spear Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills
TECHNICAL SPECSpH: 3.79
Acidity: 5.6 g/L
Alcohol: 14.6%
15 months in 25% new/75% neutral French oak
TASTING NOTESIntriguing aromas of plum, fresh strawberry, and brown olives with underlying chalky and earthy notes. Medium acidity on the palate with cherry, plum and blackberry character and warm notes of almond brittle, cloves and mixed berry cobbler. Soft tannins and a lingering finish.
WINEMAKINGThe grapes for the Sunstone 2020 Pinot Noir Reserve were hand harvested from Spear Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA of Santa Ynez Valley. We received the fruit from three blocks of the vineyard on three separate dates in September 2020, comprising three different clones (777, 667, Pommard). For each Pinot Noir clone our team crushed the fruit to tank, fermented them each individually to give the highlights of the wine separate characters to later infuse together as a blend, then pressed to tank to settle and racked to barrel. We barrel aged them in 25% French oak casks in three individual lots for seven months before blending. Our winemaker’s yeasts of choice were BM45, RA17, and BRL97 which accentuate the common characters such as spices, licorice, cherry fruit, cedar, and dark berry, and helps to retain the true character and complexity of the varietal itself. The Pinot Noir was sent through full malolactic fermentation to reduce the malic acid sharp acidity. This “single vineyard blend” of Pinot Noir was aged in 25% new French oak for 15 months before being bottled to 244 cases on December 9, 2021.
FOOD PAIRINGTuscan-style Stuffed Portobello Mushroom with pork belly, truffle goat cheese, grape tomatoes, garlic, basil, shallots, and arugula drizzled with blood orange balsamic glaze.
CELLARINGThe 2020 Pinot Noir Reserve can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 6-9 years if stored in proper conditions.

 

2020 petit verdot reservE

Retail: $65

GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE100% Petit Verdot
Valley View & Pear Valley Vineyards
TECHNICAL SPECSpH: 3.96
Acidity: 5.9 g/L
Alcohol: 14.4%
13 months in 25% new/75% neutral French oak
TASTING NOTESFloral and earthy on the nose with notes of blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry and a hint of marzipan. Dark fruit abounds on the palate, framed by chocolate, truffle, smoky, and spicy character with bright acidity preceding the long finish.
WINEMAKINGThe grapes for the Sunstone 2020 Petit Verdot Reserve were hand harvested from vineyards in Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles. We received the fruit from each vineyard within 3 days of each other in October 2020. We then crushed the fruit to tank, co-fermented two vineyard lots together and blended the Paso Robles Petit Verdot into the final blend before bottling. We barrel aged them in 25% new French oak and 75% neutral French oak. Our winemaker’s yeasts of choice were D80 and RC212 which accentuate the more dominant characters such as dark berry, bright fruit, plum leather, dark tropical fruit, black pepper, and licorice. The combination of these yeasts produces additional textures and characters as the wine is going through fermentation and retains the true chemistry of the phenolics of the wine while brightening the fruit, spice, and clarity of the characters as it ages in the oak tannin. The Petit Verdot was sent through full malolactic fermentation (approximately 98%) to reduce the malic acid sharp acidity. Our Petit Verdot blend was aged in 25% new French oak casks and 75% neutral French oak barrels for 13 months before being bottled to 465 cases on December 10, 2021.
FOOD PAIRINGCajun Shrimp Steak wrapped w/ Smoked Paprika Thyme, Honey Glazed Bacon, Served w/ White Truffle Herbed Butter Over Crispy Brussel Sprouts and Roasted Vegetable Melody.
CELLARINGThe 2020 Petit Verdot Reserve can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 5-8 years if stored in proper conditions.