Weekend Wordpour: La Cuadrilla
I think the weekend wordpour might be my absolute favorite thing to do when finishing the week because I get to share the greatest stories. Deciding which story to tell today was a no brainer for me since not only is the wine so great, but the story is so inspiring. It's a story proving that if you build each other up, everyone succeeds.
Today's story is about Stolpman Vineyards and one particular wine in their lineup: La Cuadrilla. La Cuadrilla means "the group of assistants to the Matador" in Spanish. In this story, the assistants truly become the masters.
When Tom Stolpman bought the land to in the Santa Ynez Valley of California to create his vineyard, he asked his vineyard manager, Ruben Solarzano, to employ the workers year round so they would have a steady income and could provide a more stable life for their families. Solarzano took it a step further and gave these same workers a single block of the vineyard to call their own- a Cuadra - to learn and become passionate about viticulture. These same workers became the farmers of this block, making all of their own decisions from pruning to harvest, and taking responsibility for the land. They would learn to master vineyard management, while sticking to the principles of organic, sustainable, and dry farming that Tom Stolpman embraced to create his award winning wines.
Within a few years, this "cuadrilla" had independently mastered the trade and the literal fruit of their vines were presented to Stolpman. It was so phenomenally made and so successful, that in 2009 the Cuadra project was expanded to include other wines from the vineyard. In addition, 100% of all profits from the wine are given back to the workers who produced it. Each year the Cuadra selected in the vineyard is different, so each vintage is a different blend of varietals.
The vintage I selected this time is from 2017, and is a blend of 55% Syrah, 27% Sangiovese, 18% Grenache. This Rhone/Italian blend is pure decadence. Deep garnet in color, it is as much of a jewel on the eyes as it is on the tongue. The nose delights with fragrances of strawberry pie, blackberries, plums, cherry cola, and a floral note of lilacs. If you close your eyes, it takes you back to days of family picnics and summer bliss.
The flavor is luxurious. If you could turn velvet and silk into a liquid form, this would be it. Juicy plum and ripe berries explode on the tongue with that lush hit of cherry cola and a hint of spice. Firm, but silky tannins on the finish make this probably one of the best food wines coming out of California. It has the versatility to pair well with Italian foods, stews, poultry and meat dishes, killer burgers, and fish such as salmon or tuna steaks. But where it shines is with BBQ...and this Kansas City gal knows BBQ! It's almost as if it was made for beef burnt ends and pulled pork.
Seriously, you can't go wrong with this wine in your glass...both for the flavor, and for the workers it supports.
So next time you decide to toast YOUR "cuadrilla" (even if it's simply your dog or cat while working from home), make sure you use La Cuadrilla from Stolpman Vineyards.
Sheral~Owner/Founder of C3 Specialists