Santa Barbara County.
The Stolpman syrah is a terroir (no more jokes; it is too depressing now!) driven wine. The vineyard is planted on fractured shale, and the topsoil is very thin. I think the wine’s uniqueness is directly derived from the vines’ difficult growing conditions. At its core, it has a mineral and tannic structure that is intriguing and pleasing to the palate. Usually I recommend holding the Stolpman for several years before drinking because its charms are not easily recognized when young. So it was a big surprise for me to taste the 2002 recently and find it so utterly seductive. The aroma, which is usually so reticent when young, is explosive. And the mineral character that so distinguishes the flavor is very evident–yet it does not interfere with the immediate pleasure this wine gives. One certainly has much to gain from cellaring this wine for several years; however, with a decanting, it is thoroughly enjoyable to drink today.