From: Ballard Canyon AVA, Santa Barbara County, CA
Blend: 75% Syrah, 15% Grenache, and 10% Sangiovese
Taste: On the nose, the wine offers a complex and inviting bouquet, with dark ripe plums, juicy red berries, and a touch of black cherry taking center stage. These luscious fruit aromas are beautifully supported by subtle undertones of wet stones, fresh mint, and mocha, creating a fascinating and well-rounded sensory experience. Upon taking the first sip, the palate is met with a harmonious interplay of flavors. The rich, dark fruit character of the Syrah melds seamlessly with the vibrant, red fruit notes of the Grenache and the elegant structure and freshness of the Sangiovese. This delightful symphony of flavors is elegantly woven together with fine, chalky tannins, resulting in a smooth and polished texture that lingers on the palate. As the wine evolves in the glass, hints of savory herbs, cracked pepper, and a touch of earthiness begin to emerge, adding further depth and complexity to the overall profile. The finish is long, velvety, and satisfying, leaving a lasting impression that invites you to take another sip.
Pairing: The 2021 Stolpman Vineyards La Cuadrilla Red Blend is an incredibly versatile wine that pairs exceptionally well with a wide range of dishes, making it a perfect choice for any dining occasion. Its rich fruit character, combined with the wine's structure and complexity, makes it an ideal partner for grilled or roasted red meats. Consider pairing it with dishes such as herb-crusted rack of lamb, slow-roasted beef tenderloin, or a juicy ribeye steak. The wine's tannins and acidity will cut through the richness of the meat, creating a harmonious balance of flavors.
For a more adventurous pairing, try serving the La Cuadrilla Red Blend alongside dishes with bold flavors and spices, such as Moroccan lamb tagine, chicken mole (or check out the recipe below!), or spicy Italian sausage with tomato-based pasta. The wine's fruit-forward profile and subtle hints of spice will complement and enhance the dish's vibrant flavors.
The wine also shines when paired with hearty vegetarian dishes, such as eggplant Parmesan, portobello mushroom steaks, or a rich lentil stew. The depth and complexity of the La Cuadrilla Red Blend will hold up well to these robust, savory flavors, resulting in a delightful and satisfying dining experience.
Mole de Olla (Beef Stew With Chiles)
Recipe from Pati Jinich
Adapted by Julia Moskin
About. Nestled within the picturesque Ballard Canyon AVA of Santa Barbara County, California, Stolpman Vineyards has long been known for its innovative approach to viticulture and winemaking. At the heart of this renowned winery is the La Cuadrilla program, a unique initiative designed to empower, engage, and reward the dedicated vineyard workers. The 2021 La Cuadrilla Red Blend, composed of 75% Syrah, 15% Grenache, and 10% Sangiovese, is a true testament to the passion and skill of the Stolpman team, exemplifying the best of the region and its people.
Background: When Tom Stolpman first purchased the land that would become Stolpman Vineyards, he envisioned a place where everyone involved would thrive. As part of this dream, he asked vineyard manager Ruben Solorzano to employ the vineyard workers year-round, offering them stability, growth, and a sense of belonging. Ruben took this idea a step further by implementing a training program that granted each crew member responsibility for their own small vineyard block, or Cuadra, fostering a deep connection to the land and the art of winemaking. This hands-on learning experience has since evolved into the La Cuadrilla program, which sees at least 10% of the vineyard's production going into the eponymous blend, with profits returned to the workers as bonuses.
Label: The 2021 La Cuadrilla Red Blend's label pays tribute to the hardworking women of the vineyard, led by Vigneron Maria Solorzano, Ruben's wife. Titled "Adelita," the label features a powerful image of the female Mexican revolutionary, symbolizing the action, strength, and inspiration of the women who contribute so much to the success of Stolpman Vineyards.
Vintage: The 2021 growing season was characterized by a cold spring and moderate temperatures throughout, with no major heat spikes. This resulted in a late red wine harvest that extended into early November, allowing for optimal flavor development and ripening. The healthy yields and riper picks of the season have led to a larger-than-normal Cuadrilla cuvée, ensuring the continued success of the profit-sharing initiative for both 2022 and 2023.
Sensory: The 2021 La Cuadrilla Red Blend is a captivating and complex wine that offers a stunning sensory experience. On the nose, rich notes of ripe plum are lifted by bright red berry aromas, while the palate is a harmonious blend of deep, supple flavors and fine chalky tannins. The smooth, polished texture is punctuated by intriguing hints of wet stones, mint, and mocha, creating a truly memorable and enjoyable wine that showcases the fruits of the dedicated La Cuadrilla team's labor.
Conclusion: The Stolpman Vineyards La Cuadrilla Red Blend 2021 is not only a testament to the skills and commitment of its vineyard workers but also a shining example of the potential that lies within a community that fosters growth, empowerment, and pride. Each sip of this exceptional wine is a reminder of the passion, hard work, and dedication that drives the Stolpman team to create truly outstanding wines that capture the essence of Ballard Canyon AVA and the people who call it home.
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