Stolpman Vineyards

A couple of years ago, I stumbled across a tasting room in Solvang, California for the Stolpman Winery and I fell in love with everything they had to offer. This was before I got really serious about wine. I now use some of their wines to compare with others and I still feel that Stolpman is still producing a top quality product.

Stolpman is known for their Syrah, of which they have several variations. Each Syrah, whether it is the “Estate”, “Originals” or “Hilltops”, has its own character depending on where in the vineyard it was grown. A personal favorite of mine is the “Hilltops” and I really don’t care which vintage…it’s all good.

Stolpman is also where I became fanatical about Grenache. I love the spicy aspects of this wine and the soft tannins it can have. I also discovered Roussanne here. Stolpman calls it “L’Avion” which is French for “The Airplane” because the grapes are planted close to an old air strip. This wine is very full bodied with rich fruit and honey with a little oily texture.

Another thing I like about Stolpman is a training/ownership program for “La Cuadrilla” (Spanish for “The Crew”). A block of the vineyard is given to the crew to maintain and proceeds from the sales of the wine from that block are given as bonuses.

By the way, the tasting room has moved from Solvang to Los Olivos. And they have added a tasting room in Lompoc.

My last visit which was in December ( I know! I’m sorry I’m JUST getting around to writing this!) I went to the Los Olivos location and was throughly entertained and impressed with Kari, who I could tell loved the winery she was representing….Thank You Kari!

Stolpman Website:http://www.stolpmanvineyards.com/

Cheers Y’all!

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Three Times the Charm with Corison

The reason I say that, is because this will be the 3rd time I have written about Corison.

If you care to look at my previous posts:

https://loristwistedcork.wordpress.com/category/sommelier-stuff/page/2/

https://loristwistedcork.wordpress.com/category/wine-trails/page/5/

Whenever I’m in Napa, I will always make an effort to stop by because not only is the wine outstanding, but I love the “homey” atmosphere and friendly staff.

It is refreshing to drive up to a New England styled barn instead of some behemoth of a structure. The tasting “room” is actually in the barn where the wine is kept in barrels. The barn is cold (I always take a scarf). Sometimes there are fruit flies and there is no gift shop filled with trinkets. There is just wine…damn good wine.

The friendly staff is more like family and welcome you into the cold barn. And sometimes if you are lucky you might even get to meet Cathy Corison, the winemaker/owner. I was lucky this past visit.

Cathy is a friendly petite lady who is very passionate about moderate alcohol levels in her wine. Some winemakers feel that high alcohol levels (above 14%) add flavor and body…which it does, but it makes the wine more like a “meal in a glass” and Napa is full of powerful, bold wines that score high points with wine critics, but after awhile my tastebuds go numb. However, Cathy’s wines are below that level and yet they always come out flavorful and elegant. Cathy is known for her Cabernet Sauvignon that has finesse and depth of flavor. She also makes Gewurztraminer and Cabernet Franc that I think are fantastic.

While we were talking, I told her that I really enjoy learning about how grape vines grow, discussing topography and I find geology interesting. And whenever I pick grapes, I get into a “Zen like” state. Her response was that I must be a winemaker at heart. Well, I just thought that statement was one of the nicest things I could have heard.

Unfortunately, Cathy couldn’t stay long but she left us in the capable hands of Joyce, who showed us around the barn and the Kronos vineyard, which is located right out the back of the barn. The Cabernet vines from the Kronos vineyard are about 40 years old and still produce beautiful rich fruit with black cherry, cassis, chocolate…at least that was what I got from the one little grape that I poached from the vine…

I will be honest, Cabernet has never been my first choice to drink. I think because when I was starting to be interested in wine, I only knew of the big fruit, over-oaked and tannic California Cabernets. I am so happy that I now have the California Cabernet that I have been looking for and my palate is a happy camper.

By the way, Cathy received “Winemaker of the Year – 2011” accolades by the San Francisco Chronicle.

You can read about it here:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/30/FDHB1MHN12.DTL&ao=all

The Corison Winery website: http://www.corison.com/

And now back to my glass of 2002 Corison, Kronos Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Beautiful blackberry, smoke, licorice, spice and velvet smooth!