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:
2021 SAUVIGNON BLANC (MIXED CLUBS ONLY)
|GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE||100% Sauvignon Blanc|
Coqulicot, Nolan, La Presa, and Valley View vineyards in Santa Barbara County.
|TECHNICAL SPECS||pH: 3.39|
Acidity: 6.1 g/L
2 months in Stainless Steel
|TASTING NOTES||Boisterous nose of white peach, guava, dried pineapple, and melons on this easy-drinking wine. Grapefruit notes are prominent on the palate with character of pear, agave nectar, passionfruit and white orchids and a pleasant, long-lasting finish.|
|WINEMAKING||The grapes for the Sunstone 2021 Sauvignon Blanc were hand harvested from four vineyards in two Santa Barbara County AVAs (Santa Ynez Valley & Alisos Canyon). We received the fruit from each vineyard within 3-10 days of each other. We then whole-cluster pressed each of the lots, fermented them, pressed the juice separately, and blended them together as they were finishing the last stages of fermentation. Our winemaker’s yeasts of choice were a combination of MSB and Ba11 which allows for a more fragrant aroma and characters of silky vanilla, tropical fruit, and stone fruit which helps to round out the overall mouthfeel on the palate. The wine was sent through partial malolactic fermentation (approx. 50%) to reduce the malic acid sharp acidity. Our “four vineyard blend” of Sauvignon Blanc was aged in stainless for two months before being bottled to 804 cases on December 10, 2021.|
|FOOD PAIRING||Seasoned Pork Loin “twice roasted”, glazed with spicy red pepper quince pear jam, and topped with apples slowed cooked in white wine, coconut bourbon sugar, thyme, garlic, sesame seeds, lemon pepper and lemon verbena.|
|CELLARING||The 2021 Sauvignon Blanc can be enjoyed now and for the next 12-15 months. It is not a candidate for long term aging.|
|GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE||76% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon|
Sunstone Estate Vineyard
|TECHNICAL SPECS||pH: 3.74|
Acidity: 5.0 g/L
Alcohol: 14.8% 26 months in 30% new and 70% neutral French oak
|TASTING NOTES||Decadent 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.|
|WINEMAKING||Eros 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 PAIRING||Spicy & 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.|
|CELLARING||The 2019 Eros can be enjoyed now and may be enhanced for up to an additional 10-15 years if stored in proper conditions.|
|GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE||100% Grenache|
Black Oak, Rancho Del Prado, La Presa, El Camino, and Spear vineyards
|TECHNICAL SPECS||pH: 3.69|
Acidity: 5.7 g/L
14 months in 20% new/80% neutral American oak
|TASTING NOTES||Pleasant aromas of red fruits, hibiscus flower, and plum bookended by spicy notes of anise, cloves, and pink peppercorn. Black licorice and peppercorn character on the palate accented by notes of cherry, raspberry, and dried cranberries.|
|WINEMAKING||The grapes for the Sunstone 2020 Grenache were hand harvested from five vineyards in three AVAs in Santa Barbara County (Santa Ynez Valley, Sta. Rita Hills & Alisos Canyon). We received the fruit from each vineyard within 3 days of each other. We then crushed the fruit to tank and fermented two of the vineyard lots together and three of them separately. This was done to have diversity in the yeast to nutrient profile so the juice to wine chemistry created layers of characters and textures throughout its process. We barrel aged them in 20% new American oak casks, in four individual lots for seven months and then blended them to merge the characters together before bottling. Our winemaker’s yeasts of choice were BM45, RC212, and D80 which accentuate common characters such as sweet spices, licorice, bright fruit, cedar, and earthy soil. It also helps round out a heavier mid-palate for the longevity of the texture sensations. The blend was sent through partial malolactic fermentation (approximately 60%) to reduce the malic acid sharp acidity. Our “five vineyard blend” of Grenache was aged in 20% new American oak for 14 months before being bottled to 567 cases on December 8, 2021.|
|FOOD PAIRING||Slow-cooked barbequed short ribs with chipotle orange spice basil fennel marinade, topped with huckleberry and ginger chutney served with black truffle mashed potatoes.|
|CELLARING||The 2020 Grenache can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 4-8 years if stored in proper conditions.|
2020 Petit Verdot Reserve
|GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE||100% Petit Verdot|
Valley View & Pear Valley Vineyards
|TECHNICAL SPECS||pH: 3.96|
Acidity: 5.9 g/L
13 months in 25% new/75% neutral French oak
|TASTING NOTES||Floral 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.|
|WINEMAKING||The 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 PAIRING||Cajun Shrimp Steak wrapped w/ Smoked Paprika Thyme, Honey Glazed Bacon, Served w/ White Truffle Herbed Butter Over Crispy Brussel Sprouts and Roasted Vegetable Melody.|
|CELLARING||The 2020 Petit Verdot Reserve can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 5-8 years if stored in proper conditions.|
2020 PetitE SIRAH (MIXED CLUBS ONLY)
|GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE||86% Petite Sirah/14% Syrah|
Refugio Ranch & La Presa Vineyards (Petite Sirah); Sunstone Estate Vineyard (Syrah)
|TECHNICAL SPECS||pH: 3.36|
Acidity: 7.5 g/L
14 months in 15% new American oak; 5% new French oak, and 80% neutral French oak
|TASTING NOTES||Aromatic nose comprised of red and dark fruits, chocolate covered raisins, salty pistachio, and graham cracker. Juicy palate with cherry, boysenberry, and chocolate habanero character and notes of coffee and tobacco leading to a rich finish.|
|WINEMAKING||The grapes for the 2020 Petite Sirah were hand harvested from three vineyards, including the 14% Syrah from the Sunstone Estate. 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 Syrah as the final blend before bottling. We barrel aged them in 15% new American oak casks and 5% new French oak. Our winemaker’s yeasts of choice were D80 and Rhone 4600 which enhance more dominant characters such as strawberry, rhubarb, licorice, bright fruit, strawberry leather, and tropical fruit. It also helps round out the complexity of a typically rich, high acid, high tannin red for the longevity of the texture. The Petite Sirah was sent through semi-full malolactic fermentation (approximately 90%) to reduce the malic acid sharp acidity. Our “three vineyard blend” of Petite Sirah/Syrah was aged in 15% new American oak casks and 5% new French oak, for 14 months before being bottled to 170 cases on December 9, 2021.|
|FOOD PAIRING||Spicy shredded chicken mole with Spanish rice and crème fraiche pesto topped black beans & baked plantains.|
|CELLARING||The 2020 Petite Sirah can be enjoyed now and for the next 3-5 years if stored in optimal conditions.|