If I were stuck on a deserted island with only one wine grape variety available, I would hope it would be Roussane, one of the most decadent, richest white grapes in the world. I mention this because I recently came across a wonderfully decadent white wine from Stolpman Vineyards in California’s Santa Ynez Valley. It’s called Stolpman Vineyards Uni ($25.83), a rich, ripe blend of Roussanne and Chardonnay. It’s named for the famous uni (sea urchin) that is harvested off California’s Channel Islands. The art on the bottle label is a rendering of a sea urchin.
First though, a word about the very special vineyards founded by Tom Stolpman more than 20 years ago. According to the winemakers, “Hidden in the hills of California’s Central Coast, on a rare Limestone outcropping and unobstructed from the Pacific Ocean wind, this unique land is naturally suited to grow Syrah and Roussanne grapes. We are committed to preserving this natural environment for our vines through conscious farming, dry farming, & sustainable employment. In the winery, we prefer native fermentation & minimal manipulation. Dedicated to sensible farming & winemaking, we believe that we can create vibrant, site-specific wines, with a focus unique to Ballard Canyon AVA, California.”
According to the winemakers at Stolpman, “We originally created Uni in 2016 as an exclusive for the Uchi sushi group out of Austin, Texas. Word quickly got out about the wine, with the help of SommTV’s promotion of Uni alongside the release of the Delicacy film. Today, Uni can be enjoyed throughout the US, Japan, and Korea.”
Hedonistic, intense Roussanne in Uni is blended with Chardonnay, which gives the wine backbone. The flavors are gorgeous: honeysuckle, tangerine, Meyer lemon, pear, apricot, guava and marzipan. Uni is a versatile wine that could pair especially well with sushi and raw fish, but is also bold enough to enjoy with white meats and even lighter red meats. It’s a party in a bottle.