Maria Solorzano is shy around visitors and quick to smile. For anyone that sees her in action, it is clear that she leads by the example of her hard-work. Maria is most comfortable in her routine of perpetual motion out on the vineyard – checking the vines and directing the crew. Maria, solely in charge with a quiet, commanding presence, heads the day-to-day operation at Stolpman. She runs perhaps the hardest working, most passionate vineyard crew in the world. On a daily basis she teaches La Cuadrilla new techniques to execute a constant barrage of experiments – often adapting on the fly – figuring out practical ways of farming ridiculously high-density vineyards by hand or training canopies for ideal shading and wind-flow.
The nickname for villagers from Santa Cruz, Jalisco; Maria’s hometown, is “Tecolote” – or night owl. The name stems from the popular late night parties thrown in the town. Maria and La Cuadrilla also turn nocturnal for three months out of the year to harvest in the cold night air for maximum freshness. Great Horned Owls, like the one on the Para Maria label, are the most prolific rodent control beasts on the vineyard.
The Para Maria Brand is a 50-50 partnership between the Stolpman and Solorzano families.
2016 weather facilitated making a fresh, vibrant red wine. Rather than wait for further sugar accumulation, we had finished harvesting prior to the severe late September heat spike in the Central Coast.
AT THE WINERY
Para Maria embodies the confluence of three separate efforts. The core of the wine (56%) is all about Syrah in the traditional, old world approach – taut, pert grapes picked at the peak of ripeness while retaining acidic verve and savory flavors. 28% of the blend adds higher-toned brightness and freshness, via whole-grape, carbonic (without oxygen in a sealed tank) fermentation. 15% of the wine compliments the blend in the opposite direction as the carbonic portion – giving the blend deep, dark substance and body – in the form of the Petite Verdot addition.
The combination of the three elements create a more complex, fulfilling red wine that spans a continuum of high-toned red flavor, through the blues and purples, to dense black fruits – supported by the structure that comes from Ruben’s early picking calls and darn good fruit.
Para Maria already shows off its breadth and complexity at a tender young age. Lively, peppy balance and juicy brambly blackberry. Graphite and cracked pepper create an impression of seriousness with a hint of savory wood from the whole-bunch carbonic fermentation.