Reminiscent of a Provencal manor in Southern France, Sunstone Winery features one of the grandest tasting rooms in the Santa Ynez Valley.
The south-facing vineyards sway in the breeze along the Santa Ynez River, creating an ideal microclimate for producing high quality Bordeaux and Rhone varietals. French varietals planted on the 28 acre estate include Viognier, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.
Founders Fred and Linda Rice had a grandiose vision for Sunstone Winery, scouring reclamation yards in Marseille and Provence for artifacts and furnishings for the 8.500 square foot villa.
“Reclaimed materials, such as French limestone, hand-formed roof tiles, a fireplace from the Bordeaux region of France, enormous hand-hewn pine beams from Queen Victoria’s lavender factory, a prison cell door from Normandy constructed during Napoleon’s reign, and a thousand-year old limestone kitchen sink were all incorporated into their dream building.”
Today Sunstone Winery features five luxury suites in the villa, stone barrel aging caves dug into the hillside, private cellar rooms for special events and wine club dinners and inviting picnic grounds.
Wine guide Thom Ehrnman graciously poured the Bordeaux and Rhone style wines as we toured the property. Of special note was the 2014 Viognier “Linda’s”, a tribute to Linda Rice, redolent with the stone fruit of pear, apricot, mango, peach and guava with a honey roasted almond finish.
The 2011 Merlot Reserve, handcrafted from old vines and aged in new and neutral oak for over 30 months, was exemplary. Spicy, with a floral array of crushed red peppers, rose petals, thyme, black tea and dill was tantalizing and well-balanced.
And, not to be missed is the 2013 Syrah, showing great holding potential with strawberry, blueberry, spiced plums, smoked cedar, black pepper and smoked bacon. Oh my!
Experience “le magique” at Sunstone Winery! www.sunstonewinery.com