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Sunstone Founder’s Club Newsletter – Spring 2024

Founder's Club

Spring 2024

Founder’s Club – Spring 2024 Release

As winter’s chill gives way to the warmth of sunny days, the Sunstone Estate vineyard is alive with the promise of a new season. After a rainier-than-expected past few months, vibrant Spring colors have returned to the vineyard and our resident “forest friends” are scampering about the Estate.  With a backdrop of lush, green mountains, the vineyards have fully awakened from their dormancy, bringing the arrival of “bud break” about three weeks ago.

Spring is arguably the most beautiful time of the year in Santa Ynez Valley, so it’s the perfect time to visit us at the Estate. In addition to our recent renovations and the addition of our new Cavetop Terrace, we will be offering a full slate of special events all year long to celebrate our 30th Anniversary in 2024.

We would love for you to join us from May 10th through 12th for our next Club Release weekend, including a Pizza Pickup Party.  Visit our Event Calendar for more information on this and future happenings at the Estate.

Your May Shipment

On to the details of your next wine shipment!  As part of our 30th Anniversary celebration, all of our wine club shipments this year will include special Reserve, Library, and highly rated wines for the same flat rate. That means some of your shipments could offer a savings of up to 40% off Retail price!

For this shipment, Founder’s Club members will receive a special “vertical tasting” shipment of Rapsodie, our signature “GSM” blend with the jazz-themed label.  In addition to the new 2022 Rapsodie, you will receive the 2021 Rapsodie, which was rated 92 points and named a Cellar Selection by Wine Enthusiast, and the 2020 Rapsodie, which received a 91-point rating from Wine Enthusiast.

Members that have chosen the Mixed option will also receive the new 2023 Linda’s Viognier, our only Estate white, which is named for our late founder Linda Rice.  If you’ve chosen the Reds Only option, you’ll receive two bottles of each Rapsodie (lucky you!).

DON’T FORGET: With our new enhanced membership benefits, you now have the “Bottle Swap” option that lets you customize your shipment while still earning Rewards points that can be redeemed for discounts on future wine purchases.

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

2023

Linda's Viognier

Retail: $50.00

Grape Blend and Source100% Viognier
Sunstone Estate Vineyard
Technical SpecsPH: 3.85
Acidity: 5.3 g/L
Alcohol: 13.5%
5 months in 60% new/40% neutral French oak
Case Production106
Tasting NotesThe 2023 Linda’s Viognier features a dynamic array of tropical aromas, including banana, guava, passion fruit, and dried pineapple, that mesh perfectly with delicate notes of lilac, grapefruit, and green apple. On the palate, you’ll enjoy a refreshing balance of citrus and stone fruit notes, including dried apricot, pear, and grapefruit, accented by flavors of vanilla, cedar, and cloves leading to a smooth, lingering finish.
Winemaking NotesThe “Linda’s Vineyard” Viognier grapes were hand harvested from the Sunstone Estate in the early morning of October 6th, 2023. The fruit was whole-cluster pressed, then cold-soaked for 48 hours to settle solids (lees). The juice was then inoculated for the fermentation process for 14 days before racking to French Oak Barrels for aging and to complete secondary “malolactic fermentation.” Our winemaker’s yeast of choice was BA11, which enhances additional sensory notes of tropical fruit, pear, apricot, pineapple, grapefruit, and floral characters. The wine went through malolactic fermentation to reduce the sharp acidity of the malic acid. It was then aged in 60% new/40% neutral French Oak for five months before bottled to 106 cases in April 2024.
Food PairingSeared Yellowtail with garlic parsley and lemon zest brown butter
CellaringThe 2023 Linda’s Viognier should be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 18 months. It is not a candidate for long term aging.
Wine Bottle
2022

Rapsodie

Retail: $70.00

Grape Blend and Source65% Grenache, 26% Syrah, 9% Mourvèdre
Sunstone Estate vineyard and four partner vineyards in Santa Barbara County
Technical SpecsPH: 3.41
Acidity: 5.6 g/L
Alcohol: 14.0%
19 months in 45% new/55% neutral French oak
Case Production768
Tasting NotesThe 2022 Rapsodie’s enticing aromas of dark cherry, blackberry, and espresso give way to floral notes of jasmine and lavender with hints of spice and peppercorn in the background. Soft tannins and medium acidity on the palate meld with characters of dark plum, orange zest, cloves, and vanilla bean to provide complexity leading to a rich, elegant finish.
Winemaking NotesThe grapes for our 2022 Rapsodie were hand-harvested from five vineyards in Santa Barbara County, including the Sunstone Estate, between September 13th and October 19th, 2022. The grapes from each of the five vineyards were crushed, cold-soaked, and fermented separately. We then pressed the finished wine into tanks to settle before racking to French oak barrels. Each lot of wine was aged 18 months before our trial blending to finalize the complexity of these characters, textures, and aromas before the actual blending in March 2024.
Our winemaker’s yeasts of choice were RA17, D80, and BM45, which enhance sensory and tannin notes and illuminate the characteristics of bright berry, espresso, spice, cedar, licorice, and fresh floral bouquets. Each of Rapsodie’s varietals were sent through malolactic fermentation to reduce the sharp acidity of the malic acid. The Rapsodie blend was aged in 45% new and 55% neutral French Oak for 19 months before being bottled to 768 cases on April 5th, 2024.
Food PairingSlow-cooked lamb with pumpkin, eggplant, garlic, and kale
CellaringThe 2022 Rapsodie can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 4-8 years if stored in proper conditions.
Wine Bottle
2021

Rapsodie

Retail: $70.00

Grape Blend and Source66% Grenache, 26% Syrah, 8% Mourvedre
Rancho Del Prado, Spear Vineyard, Leiff, Sunstone Vineyard, La Presa Vineyard
Technical SpecsPH: 3.71
Acidity: 5.1 g/L
Alcohol: 13.8%
Case Production638
Tasting NotesBeautiful aromatics of delicate Jasmine flowers, baked plum and tart cherry mixed with blackberry, redcurrants, lavender and coffee beans. Medium-bodied with characters of espresso, black peppercorn and acai berries, leading into a long, warm finish.
Winemaking NotesSunstone’s 2021 Rapsodie Blended Varietals were hand harvested from five Vineyards in Santa Ynez Valley. The grapes were harvested mid-October to beginning November 2021, our team crushed, cold soaked, fermented, and pressed each of the four varietals separately as they were harvested. Each lot of wine was aged for four months before our trial blending to finalize the complexity of these characters, textures, and aromas prior to the actual blending in February 2022.
Food PairingMediterranean Beef and Bean Stew with Roasted Rhubarb Salad.
CellaringThe 2021 Rapsodie can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 4-8 years if stored in proper conditions.
Wine Bottle
2020

Rapsodie

Retail: $70.00

Grape Blend and Source68% Grenache, 27% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre
Sunstone Estate vineyard, and six additional vineyards in Santa Ynez Valley
Technical SpecsPH: 3.75
Acidity: 5.6 g/L
Alcohol: 14.8%
Case Production638
Tasting NotesRich and indulgent nose full of blackberry, black cherry, fresh blueberries, and plum, mixed with floral aromas. Dry tannins with berry and spice character across the entirety of the palate, with coffee and tobacco meeting cherry and black pepper notes to accentuate the long, warm finish.
Winemaking NotesThe fruit for Sunstone’s 2020 Rapsodie “GSM” blend was hand-harvested from seven different vineyards in Santa Ynez Valley. In addition to the Sunstone estate, the fruit came from Spear, La Presa, Rancho Del Prado, Refugio Ranch, El Camino and Coquelicot vineyards. Between September and October 2020, our team crushed, cold soaked, fermented, and pressed each of the three varietals separately as they were harvested. Each lot of wine was aged for seven months before our trial blending to finalize the complexity of these characters, textures, and aromas prior to the actual blending in May 2021. Our winemaker’s yeasts of choice were D80 and BM45, which enhances sensory and tannin notes and characters of bright berry, spice, cedar, licorice and earth tones.
Food PairingMediterranean Beef and Bean Stew with Roasted Rhubarb Salad.
CellaringThe 2020 Rapsodie can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 4-8 years if stored in proper conditions
Wine Bottle

Important Dates

Last Day for Credit Card & Address Changes, and Bottle Swaps

April 29

Credit Cards are Charged

April 30

Club Orders Available for Pickup

May 10

Non-pickup orders Shipped out

May 13