2011 Stolpman "Estate" Santa Ynez Valley Syrah

SKU #1137970 93 points Vinous

 Freshly cut flowers, dark red cherries, mint, licorice and violets are alive in the glass in Stolpman's 2011 Syrah Estate. One of the most refined, polished wines I have ever tasted from Stolpman, the 2011 Syrah impresses for its exceptional balance, length and vibrancy. This is a fabulous showing. The low 2011 yields and tiny berries resulted in a wine endowed with fabulous purity. Drinking window: 2013 - 2023. Stolpman was one of the most pleasant and unexpected surprises of my Central Coast tastings. The wines, once heavy and overdone, are moving towards greater finesse. Winemaker Sashi Moorman has pretty much eliminated punchdowns and increased whole cluster fermentations. As was common throughout the region, Stolpman endured a long, cool growing season in 2011 that brought with it lower yields but exceptional quality.  (7/2013)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (includes 3% grenache, 2% roussanne and 1% viognier): Fresh dark red-ruby. Slightly reduced aromas of black raspberry, smoky minerals, plum sauce and smoked meat, plus a hint of purple fruits. Then densely packed, vibrant and savory, with superb energy and acid cut to the sweet dark fruit, flint, violet, pepper and fresh herb flavors. A very juicy, penetrating style of syrah, and very 2011 in character, not to mention Cote-Rotie-like. Finishes with verve and aromatic persistence. Ridiculously underpriced.  (12/2013)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The largest production wine of the estate, with close to 5,000 cases produced, the 2011 Syrah Estate is a beauty! Exhibiting pretty raspberry, flowers, violets, herbes de Provence and licorice, this medium-bodied, finesse oriented Syrah has good to moderate concentration and silky tannin, suggesting it's best consumed over the coming handful of years. Drink now-2016. Under the guidance of Sashi Moorman (of Sandhi Wines and the winemaker here since 2001), this estate has slowly moved toward earlier picking and slightly more fresh, elegant wines.  (8/2013)

90 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Cellar Selection* The best thing about this Syrah is its exceptional dryness, which gives it a fine, savory elegance despite the obvious power of ripe blackberries mingled with tobacco, black pepper and grilled meat. The acid-tannin balance is just fine. It would not be surprising if this firm young Syrah improves over the next 5-6 years.  (10/2013)

K&L Notes

Blending a small percentage of Viognier into their Syrah is pretty much de rigueur for some producers; Stolpman added 2% Roussanne a.k.a their "beautiful golden child" into their 2011 Estate, intensifying the perfume of the fruit.

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Price: $29.99
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By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/3/2013 | Send Email
If you haven’t tried the Stolpman wines in a while it may be time to give them another shot. For years I thought of the wines of Stolpman to be sort of the best of the modern bunch: high extraction, higher in alcohol, bigger oak components and very ripe. However over the last couple of vintages that style has been changing bring the wines back down to a more balanced place. The wines now show off the varietals more and the unwavering quality that their vineyards always have produced rather than the winemakers hand in the cellar. The new 2011 Santa Ynez Valley Syrah unmistakenly shows this new lean with a nose more about new leather, freshly picked wild blackberries and cured beef than high toast oak barrels and prickly alcohol. Bright and sassy for Syrah, this has a wealth of spice components and really shows them off from the minute it enters your mouth. Whole black peppercorns, tar, cassis, mesquite smoke, pork belly and anisette are all apparent here with a pretty fresh green herbaceous note hiding underneath. This is Syrah in its purest form and could easily be mistaken for a young wine from the Northern Rhone from the 80s-90s. For any fan of traditional spice driven Syrah this is a must try.

By: Scott Beckerley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/2/2013 | Send Email
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Very pretty nose of crushed violets, dark cherries and anise. Delicious on the palate with silky tannins and dark red fruits, light herbs and a hint of cocoa. This is an excellent, medium-bodied Syrah that is somewhat restrained compared to most other domestic Syrah. This is a very appealing and versatile effort from Stolpman.

By: Patrick Cu | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/31/2013 | Send Email
This Syrah has gorgeous aromas of violets, herbs, spice, blackberries, and savory oak. The spice continues onto the palate with dense, dark fruit notes emerging, alongside light notes of raspberry jam and dark cherry cola. To boot, a very soft mouthfeel makes this wine incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. I can see this being a big hit with many fans of Central Coast Syrah!

By: Mahon McGrath | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/31/2013 | Send Email
An enveloping bouquet of meaty, peppery, charcoal intensity in the 2011 Stolpman Syrah finds a pretty floral lift. Tart berry and plum flavors, with a suggestion of hot asphalt, come through on this medium-full bodied wine, before it finishes long, bright, and fresh, with negligible tannins, and considerable suavity.

Additional Information:



- 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 (%): 14.4