Sunstone 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: $28

GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE96% Sauvignon Blanc, 4% Semillon
Refugio Ranch Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley
Acidity: 7.00g/L
Alcohol: 14.0%
TASTING NOTESFresh nose full of lemons and Granny Smith apples, complemented by tree fruit aromas like pear and white peach. On the first sip, mouthwatering notes of grapefruit and green apple race across the palate before giving way to bright acidity and hints of lemon zest, honeysuckle, and dried pineapple.
WINEMAKINGOur Sauvignon Blanc grapes were harvested from Refugio Ranch both East and Westside. The soil, minerals, sun, and climate are slightly different, and both add a great acidity and fruit balance. The grapes were hand harvested, whole cluster pressed, fermented and aged in a stainless-steel tank for four months before being bottled to 1,328 cases. The finished wine contains a small amount of Semillon and a trace of Chardonnay from the 2018 vintage.
FOOD PAIRINGSauvignon Blanc tends to pair best with your green vegetables, delicate fish, and your favorite tangy dairy dishes. We recommend trying to pair it with lemon – garlic shrimp skewers accompanied by sautéed asparagus or zucchini. If you’re in the mood for pasta try it with Basil & Risotto. Looking for something on the lighter side? Pair this wine Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese Medallions.
CELLARINGThe 2019 Sauvignon Blanc can be enjoyed now and for the next 6-9 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: $58

Partner vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills
Acidity: 5.93g/L
Alcohol: 14.1%
14 months in 20% new/80% neutral French Oak
TASTING NOTESRaspberry leather, ripe Bing cherries and candied blueberries on the nose combine with a blend of soft floral notes and hints of ginger and coriander. A tart palate of sour cherry, cranberries and raspberries is complemented by warm notes of fresh ground pepper and an earthy mix of forest floor and mushrooms.
WINEMAKINGGrapes for the 2018 Pinot Noir Reserve were grown in the Rancho Esperanza vineyard in the world-renowned Sta Rita Hills AVA. The soil types are marine sand, loam, clay and limestone which produced nicely balanced layers of raspberry notes and minerals throughout ever sip. This wine, from the 777 and 4 clones, was barreled in November 2018 and aged in 50% burgundy oak casks for 14 months and bottled in January 2020.
FOOD PAIRINGPinot Noir pairs well with a wide range of foods. The wines fruiter notes allow it to pair nicely with salmon or other fatty fish, roasted chicken or pasta dishes. If you're looking for a good cheese pairing, try brie cheese or any other mild and soft cheeses.
CELLARINGThe 2018 Pinot Noir Reserve can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 10 years if stored in proper conditions. The winemaker recommends aging it a minimum of four months before enjoying it.



Retail: $45

GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE100% Mourvèdre
Roblar Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley
Acidity: 5.74g/L
Alcohol: 14.5%
15 months in 20% new/80% neutral French Oak
TASTING NOTESInteresting potpourri of dark cherries, black plums, tobacco leaves and roasted hazelnut coffee beans on the nose. Full-bodied and earthy on the palate with notes of black tea leaf, cocoa nibs, rose water and pink peppercorn accented by an abundance of dark fruit and a tart finish.
WINEMAKINGThe Mourvedre grapes for this wine were hand harvested from a local family vineyard within 5 miles of Sunstone. This is only our second-ever Mourvedre we've made on its own. It is traditionally a Rhone varietal that is used in “GSM” blends. Our winemaking team aged the wine in 20% new French oak for 15 months before it was filtered and bottled in December 2020. 300 cases produced.
FOOD PAIRINGMourvedre is dark and rich and can be a little meaty or gamey. So you want to pair it with something similar. Things like braised beef short ribs, oxtail, or lamb stew. It is also incredible with anything barbecued, like Santa Maria style tri tip, or grilled pork loin. Also try it with Braised Rabbit in red wine with Kale, Purple Potatoes, Leeks, Beets, Carrots and Parsnip.
CELLARINGThe 2019 Mourvedre can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 2-4 years if stored in proper conditions.