2014 Stolpman "Originals" Ballard Canyon Syrah (Previously $40)

SKU #1298816 95 points Connoisseurs Guide

 One of the first wineries to see Ballard Canyon's potential as an important locale in which to grow and make wines from classic Rhône varieties, Stolpman is very much an original and continues to produce some of the state's finest Syrahs. This particular effort shows great varietal definition and depth with loads of peppery spice and a strong gamy streak indelibly marking it as nothing other than Syrah. It is a big, intense, fully ripe, well-constructed wine that does not abandon structure and balance in its successful pursuit of richness, and, in the end, it is counted among the more collectable Syrahs of the vintage owing to its precision as much as to power. Be in no hurry to gulp it down. *Three Stars. Good Value*  (7/2016)

95 points Wine Enthusiast

 Very savory aromas of roasted lamb, bacon fat, teriyaki and crushed pepper meet with light blueberry and a touch of mint on the nose of this delicious, well-rounded bottling by winemaker Sashi Moorman from the vineyard's oldest blocks. The palate kicks off with a zesty acidity, then come waves of black pepper-crusted beef roast, oregano, bay leaf, dark plum fruit and lavender. The solid structure ensures cellar potential but it's ready to drink today. *Editors' Choice* (MK)  (3/2017)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2014 Syrah Originals Estate is another outstanding effort from winemaker Sashi Moorman. Made in a ripe, textured and hedonistic style, it has beautiful purity in its blueberry, blackberry, salty mineral and creamy licorice aromas and flavors. Fermented with 65% whole clusters and aged 15 months in neutral French oak, it’s upfront and ready to go, but will keep nicely for 4-6 years. (JD)  (8/2016)

92 points Vinous

 A dark, fleshy wine, the 2014 Syrah Originals offers up an attractive array of peppery/savory notes that add aromatic top notes to a core of dark fruit. Powerful, dense and rich through to the finish, the 2014 is a big wine that could use a few more years in bottle to fully blossom. The 2/3rds whole clusters are nicely integrated throughout. Peter Stolpman and his wife, Jessica, along with their team headed by vineyard guru Ruben Solorzano and winemakers Kyle Knapp and Sashi Moorman, continue to make important strides at their Ballard Canyon estate. Stolpman describes 2014 as a year with warmer nighttime temperatures and therefore narrower diurnal shifts than are common here. The 2014 Syrahs are generally mid-weight wines (within the context of Ballard Canyon) made with more attention towards finesse than pure power. Stolpman's Roussanne L'Avion (which sometimes includes Chardonnay) remains one of the Central Coast's most distinctive whites. From what I have seen of late here, the best is yet to come. (AG)  (9/2016)

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Staff Image By: Anthony Gittings | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/24/2017 | Send Email
Their 'Originals' Syrah is made from the oldest plantings they have and are also the oldest in the Ballard Canyon. Because of the age of the vines and use of dry farming, the yield is less than other blocks on the property. The small clusters of fruit they do produce are both rich and concentrated. They sort the fruit, using mostly whole clusters and ferment in cement, relying on the stem influence to add wood texture and tannin. The wine is elegant, powerful and focused allowing the limestone soil to fully show its influence on the vineyards. Blackberries and blueberries are in the fore front while undertones of pretty red flowers, smoke, and just the right amount of black pepper give the wine complexity and richness.

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- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.1