Estate Grown Stolpman 2013 Syrah from Ballard Canyon

Vineyard: Stolpman Winery in Ballard Canyon

Variety: Syrah

Cost: $27

Region: California (Central Coastal)

Food Pairing Suggestions: Braised beef ribs, savory herbed mushrooms,  butternut squash, yoghurt sauces, onions.

My Tasting Notes: Cranberry, cherry, raspberry, black pepper, currants, blueberry, and lingering dry mineral finish. This bottle has the intense aroma and flavor you want and expect from a Syrah. Pairing with root vegetables brings out the notes of lavender.

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My mind is already in the process of looking for signs of Autumn, that hauntingly beautiful time of year that connects me to the earth and seems to be the epitome of everything I am, wrapped up into one week of glorious leaves falling and fluttering like petals to the ground. John and I were married on a winery during harvest time when the winds were still warm, but the scent of autumn was in the air. My produce basket on the kitchen counter has already accumulated butternut squash. My anticipation of fall weather is potentially why this particular Syrah was reminiscent of burning fall leaves – that spicy, smoky scent that thrills my heart.

It is a requirement of mine to visit a winery personally, or at the very least, explore the photos of a particular winery before I drink the wine. The Stolpman Winery is a dry farmed limestone vineyard with patches of purple wildflowers, a picturesque stucco and Spanish tile villa, and grazing sheep. The winery itself describes their location as, hidden in the hills of California’s Central Coast, on a rare Limestone outcropping & unobstructed from the Pacific Ocean wind, this unique land is ideally suited to grow Syrah and Roussanne grapes… While drinking the wine along with our meal, I was able to detect the notes of lavender in the wine that were noted by Matt Kettmann via the The Wine Enthusiast. Although I did not note these initially, earthy root vegetables seem to make those floral notes come to life in the wine.

To plan a lovely September harvest menu, I suggest along with this wine to serve braised beef, slow cooked savory herb mushrooms, butternut squash soufflé, crusty rosemary sea salt bread and freshly churned butter. A butternut squash shepard’s pie would be the perfect one dish meal to pair with the estate grown Stolpman Syrah by Will Frolic for Food. I also recommend Butternut Squash Mushrooms with Goat Cheese.

Another delicious vegetarian pairing is Broad Bean Falafel with Preserved Lemon Yogurt and Broad Bean Salad (pictured). This recipe is available here by My Darling Lemon Thyme. The bold flavors in the red wine can cut through the creamy tart yoghurt and the strong taste of raw, red onions.

“This strangely still pause between summer and autumn, greenery and gold, and the heat and rising wind that is once again readying itself to rush it all away in a climactic symphony of color and scent is – in my opinion, one of the best parts about living on earth.”

– Victoria Erickson

Photos 1 and 2 by My Darling Lemon Thyme (used with permission).