Two Thrilling Wineries Showcasing the Ballard Canyon AVA

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  • By Jessica Martinez
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Two Thrilling Wineries Showcasing the Ballard Canyon AVA

Tucked inside the Santa Ynez Valley is the small limestone-laden sub-region known as Ballard Canyon. Fruit from the Stolpman vineyards produces some of the Central Coast's most compelling wines.

Stolpman Vineyards

So many of you already know and love and support Stolpman Vineyards.  For those of you who don’t know, In 1990 Long Beach attorney Tom Stolpman and his wife Marilyn purchased a limestone outcropping in the Ballad Canyon area of Santa Ynez Valley where they developed one of the state's finest vineyards.. In 2009 Pete (Tom & Marilyn’s son) and his wife Jessica took over management of the vineyard, increased production from their grapes instead of selling the fruit, and implemented more concrete and custom carbonic fermentation tanks. Stolpman does its best to have minimal intervention not only on the land but in the wine as well.  Vineyard management has been done by husband and wife team Ruben and Maria Solarzano.  Winemakers Kyle Knapp and Matt Nocas use native yeasts and minimal intervention as much as possible for the wines.

 

2017 Stolpman Roussanne

Ballard Canyon, Santa Barbara County

They pressed the juice into large oak barrels (puncheons) only ¼ new oak compared to other vintages which have been 100% new oak. They used less new oak on this vintage as to not mask the beautiful nose and palate from the fruit. The 2017 was blended with 12% Chardonnay which gives the wine a firm balance and structure on the finish. This wine is rich and boldly textured with a lemon meringue profile. Fleshy texture but soft and delicate feathering the mouth with coconut husk and tropical fruit.

$25.99 per bottle

 

2017 Stolpman Para Maria Red Blend

Ballard Canyon, Santa Barbara County

This wine is named after the leader of the La Quadrilla, Maria Solozano who is known to be shy but is the hardest working person in the vineyards. She is constantly teaching the other workers new techniques and motivates through her passion in the vineyards. The Para Maria Brand is a 50-50 partnership between the Stolpman and Solorzano Family. This wine is majority Syrah with a bit of Petit Verdot blended and aged in 100% neutral French oak barrels for 9 months. The Syrah sees a bit of whole cluster fermentation along with some carbonic fermentation. This wine is layered and what they call a “thinking man’s wine” but at the price point of a “working man”. The aromatics are filled with blueberry compote straight out of the bottle. Buffering the blueness lies a deeper chcoalte malt below then a fiery, red energy above. Stolpman is all about the texture and this wine is no exception with a rich and robust round mouth feel and a freshly cut edge which is what the blend is all about.

$14.99 per bottle

 

2017 Stolpman La Caudrilla “The Crew”

Ballard Canyon, Santa Barbara County

When Tom first started his dream of Stolpman Vineyards he decaled that if his dream of owning a vineyard was to come true it would not be on the backs of people being taken advantage of. So he asked his Vineyard Manager Ruben Solorzano to employ the vineyard workers year-round, so the team members could have a steady job, a career and raise their family’s with security. Ruben started a training program where each crew member was responsible for a block on the vineyard and in turn it made them farmers instead of just workers. Once the crew members mastered vineyard management, Tom made sure each of these crew members would receive a portion of the wine for personal consumption as a source of pride and a chance to apricate the hard work they had put in. Today 10% of the vineyard’s production goes into the blend and the profits are returned to the crew members, divided by seniority in the form of a year-end bonus.  Each vintage is rotated around the vineyard so the blend changes each vintage as well as the label to embody the workers and part of the vineyard that the wine comes from.

This wine is made up of 55% Syrah, 27% Sangiovese, and 18% Grenache. The wine is vinified in mostly concrete with a bit of stainless steel and then is aged in 100% neutral French Hermitage 500L oak Puncheons. This vintage saw a few heat spikes mid-harvest and the heat lend to extra juicy ripeness. This wine is dark and intense with delicious suppleness through the palate.

$23.99 per bottle

 

2018 Stolpman Sauvignon Blanc

Ballard Canyon, Santa Barbara County

This wine is all about the limestone soils it comes from. They withhold irrigation to concentrate the flavor and texture of the wine. This low yielding vineyard ensures a rich texture and heightened complexity. Neutral oak on the wine is used to round out the intense angularity that can be brought on by intense acidity. Notes of citrus and hay give way to passion fruit, pear and green apple. The finish has a fresh pop of acid to round everything out. 

$14.99 per bottle

 

Penville Wines

Penville was founded in 2013 by Patton Penhallegon and Michael Villas, both life-long wine industry professionals.  Penville is located in the Central Coast and does most of their work with the Stolpman Vineyards.  As many of you know, the Stolpman Family is an important pillar in the Long Beach community; Tom Stolpman is still a practicing attorney here in town.  Patton and Tom’s son Pete (who took over Stolpman in 2009) are very close friends, which has granted Patton and Michael the opportunity to work with the superlative fruit of Stolpman Vineyards to produce exceptional Syrah and Grenache.

 

2016 Penville Stolpman Vineyard Syrah

Ballard Canyon

This vineyard is one of the best in the region with underlying limestone clay which retains water but still stresses the vines, so they have to dig deep for the nutrients. There is something about the struggle for the vines that really just gives the grapes a boost of intensity. This wine sees partial whole cluster which boosts the sweet aromatics and tannic structure and then it is fermented in open top fermenters with native yeasts and aged for 19 months in neutral French Barriques. The aromatics on this wine are no joke very intense with lots of fruit and spice, the palate has a strong tannic grip but is so well balanced it appears soft on the finish. It is the perfect combination between sweet and spicy.

$55.99 per bottle

 

2015 Penville Grenache, Ballard Canyon

This wine also comes from a Stolpman Vineyard. They use 30% Whole cluster using native yeasts in open top vessels then divided between cement eggs, French Puncheons for six months. Then the rest is fermented whole cluster in the eggs then transferred to neutral puncheons for six months then blended and further refined by being put in Hungarian oak puncheons for 10 months. This wine is unfined and unfiltered before bottling. The whole cluster ferment gives the wine a grippy nuance while still having a wonderful grenache aromas and light lift.

$25.99 per bottle

 

2015 Penville “P2” Grenache, Ballard Canyon

Patton’s daughter was born in 2015 and this wine was dedicated to her. He wanted to create a wine that could grow with her and withstand the test of time so she would enjoy it for her entire life. This wine was created by taking multiple barrels and blending them to create what he considered the best wine. This wine isn’t widely distributed, and we are one of the few places that carries it. The nose is complex with fruit and baking spice followed through on the palate with bright acidity and a strong grippy finish. 

$25.99 per bottle

 

 

ALSO TO LOOK FOR:

2016 Long Meadow Ranch Chardonnay

Anderson Valley, Mendocino County

This is just the second vintage of LMR's Anderson Valley project, and it is a beauty.  From a vineyard planted in 1998, this straightforward wine avoids all the excesses that have plagued California Chardonnays in the past 25 years.  More in the classic Stony-Hill mode, it has a clean style with a delightful aroma, focused body and lingering finish.  Very pretty wine.--RK

$36.99 per bottle

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