HARVEST IS IN FULL SWING!
“Hurry Up and Wait.” This well-known phrase perfectly describes the 2022 winegrape Harvest so far. While our region enjoys one of the most consistent and predictable grape growing climates in the world, sometimes Mother Nature can be fickle.
The first grapes from this year’s Harvest were picked on August 31st, which is several weeks earlier than expected. The pace of harvest sped up early due to extreme heat in the high 90s and low 100s for an extended period, which caused the fruit to ripen more quickly and in some cases forced us to harvest some fruit early to avoid sun damage. This had us anticipating that the rest of Harvest would be completed far ahead of schedule. And then…nothing.
In mid-September temperatures began to cool back down to normal and most of the fruit resumed its normal ripening schedule. Fruit has been coming in slowly but surely and as of this writing Harvest is about 60% complete. When all is said and done, our winemaker and cellar team anticipate bringing in over 200 tons of premium quality fruit not only from our own Estate vineyard but from 14 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 2024 and 2025.
In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you at the Estate for the Haunted Ball at the Sunstone Villa on October 29th, and then for Fall Club Release Weekend on November 4th to 6th.
Speaking of Club Release, let’s get into the details of your next shipment! This one has something for every taste. In addition to our highly regarded Estate Merlot, you’ll be receiving a Reserve white, as well as our newest Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. 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 SAUVIGNON BLANC RESERVE (MIXED CLUBS ONLY)
|GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE||100% Sauvignon Blanc|
Refugio Ranch Vineyard & Valley View Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley
|TECHNICAL SPECS||pH: 3.38|
Acidity: 6.1 g/L
2 months in Stainless Steel
|TASTING NOTES||Mature 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.|
|WINEMAKING||The 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 PAIRING||Herbed 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.|
|CELLARING||The 2020 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve can be enjoyed now and for the next 6 months. It is not a candidate for long term aging.|
2020 MERLOT RESERVE, ESTATE
|GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE||100% Merlot|
Sunstone Estate Vineyard
|TECHNICAL SPECS||pH: 3.76|
Acidity: 5.2 g/L
22 months in 20% new/80% neutral French oak
|TASTING NOTES||Intriguing nose of fresh black plums, lilac, and espresso, with spicy notes of cumin, cloves, and turmeric in the background. Soft front palate with dark chocolate, peppercorn, and espresso giving way to subtle fruit notes of warm berry cobbler and blackberries, ending with a warm, lingering finish.|
|WINEMAKING||Our Merlot blocks A, B, C, and D were hand harvested between September 1st and 6th, 2020. Our team crushed the fruit from each of the four blocks individually and fermented using an assortment of yeast and nutrients to balance the layers as we blended the wine later in the process.|
After each wine was dry, they were settled and racked. Then we blended specific percentages of the four Merlot Blocks into one final blend before aging. Our final blend consisted of Merlot A Block (21%), Merlot B Block (26%), Merlot C Block (17%), Merlot D Block (34%) and to balance the characters (2%) Estate Cabernet Franc was added to bring out more black pepper notes.
This wine was aged in 20% new French oak and 80% neutral oak for 22 months. Our winemaker’s yeasts of choice were D80, RC212 and BM45, which enhance sensory notes of dark berry, star anise, black pepper, and espresso, while also adding to the floral, spice and fruit aromatic balance. The wine was sent through malolactic fermentation to reduce the malic acid sharp acidity. Our 2020 Estate Merlot was bottled to 710 cases in August 2022.
|FOOD PAIRING||Tuscan Braised Beef rubbed w/Mediterranean Herbs, Lemon Black Pepper, Garlic, and Dried Spices. Served with Savory Corn Pudding with a side of Crunchy Roasted Kale, Bacon, and Brussel Sprouts.|
|CELLARING||The 2020 Merlot Reserve, Estate can be enjoyed now and for an additional 6-12 years if stored in proper conditions.|
2020 CABERNET SAUVIGNON, SYV
|GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE||100% Cabernet Sauvignon|
Coqulicot, Valley View and Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards
|TECHNICAL SPECS||pH: 3.71|
Acidity: 5.8 g/L
22 months in 35% new French oak & 65% neutral French and American oak
|TASTING NOTES||Bright aromas of fresh blackberries, black cherries, smoky tobacco, and crushed red pepper coupled with vegetal and spice notes. Fruit-forward front palate of dark berries, rhubarb, and black currants, with oak toast and vanilla in the middle, culminating in an extended peppery finish.|
|WINEMAKING||Our 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon, SYV was hand harvested from three different vineyards in Santa Barbara County between October 5th and 14th, 2020. Our team crushed the fruit as it came in individually for separate fermentations, then pressed the fruit for each within 12-14 days of the fermentation and sent them through secondary fermentation in barrel. We blended the three wines together on June 4, 2021 and aged this final wine in 35% new French oak and 65% neutral French (50%) and American oak (15%).|
Our winemaker’s yeasts of choice were a combination of BM45 and D80, which originated in Italy and the Rhone valley of France respectively. BM45 is preferred by our winemaker because it influences the soft palate and roundness of the fruit, sweet spice, rose, cherry liquor, licorice, cedar, and earthy character of the wine. D80 has similarities but focuses more on the layers and pigment of the wine during the fermentation. It can enhance tannin characters of plum, spice, cherry liquor, pepper, and floral aromas as well as stabilize color from the pigment of the skins and tannins. This combination of yeasts adds a complexity of layers in our Cabernet Sauvignon blend.
This wine went through malolactic fermentation to reduce the malic acid sharp acidity. It was bottled to 977 cases in August 2022.
|FOOD PAIRING||Pepper-crusted sirloin steak with autumn vegetable hash|
|CELLARING||The 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon, SYV can be enjoyed now and for an additional 4-8 years if stored in proper conditions.|
2020 PINOT NOIR, SBC
|GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE||100% Pinot Noir|
Spear and Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards
|TECHNICAL SPECS||pH: 3.79|
Acidity: 5.6 g/L
23 months in 20% new/80% neutral French oak
|TASTING NOTES||Pleasant aromas of red apples, hibiscus, raspberry, and rhubarb along with the complexity of floral and spice notes. Soft front palate with character of white cherries, cranberries, coffee bean and cocoa, with spice and oak toast in the middle, and bright acidity on the long finish.|
|WINEMAKING||About 81% of the grapes for our 2020 Pinot Noir, SBC were hand harvested from Spear Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills during the last weeks of September 2020. The four different clones of Pinot Noir were crushed individually and then fermented using an assortment of yeasts and nutrients to balance the layers as we blended the wine later in the process. On September 30th, we harvested the remaining 19% of Pinot Noir grapes from Lucas & Lewellen vineyard in Los Alamos Lucas. We crushed and cold soaked the grapes for three days then inoculated and fermented with BRL97 yeast for 10 days before adding the secondary bacteria.|
After each wine was dry, they were settled and racked. We then blended specific percentages of the four Pinot Noir clones into one blended final Pinot Noir during early May 2021. We aged this wine in 20% new French oak barrels and 80% neutral Oak. In addition to BRL97 yeast, our winemaker also incorporated RA17 and BM45 yeasts which enhance sensory notes of Bing cherry, licorice, black pepper, anise, and espresso essence to the characters of the Pinot Noir clones for a more aromatic balance. The wine was sent through malolactic fermentation to reduce the malic acid sharp acidity. Our Pinot Noir was bottled to 418 cases in August 2022.
|FOOD PAIRING||Smoked Turkey with bourbon orange glaze with Smoked Paprika, Sweet Potatoes Au Gratin, and Pear Pomegranate Arugula Grilled Goat Cheese Salad|
|CELLARING||The 2020 Pinot Noir, SBC can be enjoyed now and for the next 4-8 years if stored in optimal conditions.|