Santa Barbara County.syst

If you are looking for comparisons to the above wine, think in terms of polar opposites. Based on previous experience, I know this wine will be a total knock out in a few years, but if you are looking for something to drink today, forget it. You can get a glimpse of what this wine will be by popping a cork, decanting the wine, and drinking it after 24 hours of airing.

It starts out amazingly structured and ungiving but becomes a fascinating, subtle yet powerful syrah upon airing up. There is an appealing blueberry aroma that jumps out of the glass, much like the 1996. The mouth is juicy and delicious, until you reach the wall of ultra fine textured tannins that tell you that the wine needs five years in the bottle before you should bother to drink it. There is precious little topsoil at Stolpman, and my theory is that the shale soil imbues the wine with a minerality, tannin, and delicacy of fruit that wines from soils that are alluvial based never have.

If one wanted to personify this wine, I would say that drinking it is like having a mind-bending conversation with a sinewy, intense individual with an oversized personality. It is just fascinating and overwhelming. (If you are looking for something warm and cuddly, you’d do better to order the Roll.)