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.
In the hotter eastside of the Santa Ynez Valley, the Labor Day heat spike of 2017 stressed the canopies of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc vineyards. Still a ways out from ripening to red-wine sugar levels, the fruit looked great, but the canopies showed signs of wanting to shut down. Ruben decided to make an early pass, lightening the red-wine load on the vines, and providing us with grapes for another killer Para Maria Rose.
AT THE WINERY
This is the second year in a row we have made this Para Maria Rose blend – and because we were so happy with our approach last year, we mimicked it again. Most importantly, we press all three grapes extremely conservatively, inflating the press just enough to pop grapes and let the juice flow out. A greedier, harder press would run the risk of extracting tannin from the early-picked grapes, as well as green herbal notes from the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc skins. To this point, we don’t leave either Bordeaux grape soaking on the skins – instead, we press immediately. Syrah, on the other hand, is left to soak for a couple hours to give the rose a nice pink hue.
Vacation in a bottle: A cornucopia of tropical fruits and fresh taut cherries pop out of the glass and flow all the way through the finish. Zesty pineapple and mango fill the mouth – the 2017 Para Maria Rose packs a ton of tactile depth and flavor into a refreshingly delicious light pink profile.