Stel+Mar Chardonnay 2021
A crowd-pleasing California Chardonnay with green apple, baked pear, and nutmeg aromas on the nose. Full-bodied with bright tropical fruit, butterscotch, and toasty oak spice flavors on the palate. The mouthfeel is rich and rounded with a long finish with layered acidity.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
STEL+MAR was started in 2018 by two 36 year olds, Chris Noll and Justin Dumitrescu. What started out as a part-time wine hobby quickly turned into a labor of love with the goal of putting award-winning wine into unique packaging using local artists. A modern winery propelled by Winemaker and Napa Valley veteran, Phillip Zorn.
Each year they personally select the best lots from each harvest; focusing on wines that are single varietal, unadultered and above all, showcase the winemaker and wine region. They enter each year both optimistic and opportunistic, paying obsessive attention to the weather, the rain, cool nights, and the delicate harvest. Growing up in Canada and being driven by the changing seasons, they see vineyards in a similar light with a distinct cycle of Birth, Dance and Rest. During Birth, soil, water and sunlight produce wine grapes; during the Dance, winemakers turn grapes into liquid art; finally, with Rest, the vineyards recover before the next year’s explosion of growth.
Not to be overlooked, STEL+MAR ensures that packaging design gets as much attention as the wine itself. Paper Art and Liquid Art goes very well together. Using local artists, like Steph Cheng and Jose Garcia, designs are tailored to each packaging format. Modern and sleek cans and boxes are designed as such with our classic geometric series. Refined and classic bottles adopt casual and whimsical designs reminiscent of California scenery and beach culture. Steph and Jose have created art for musicians such as Radiohead, Lizzo, Wilco, Chris Stapleton, Dave Matthews, Mumford & Sons, Ray LaMontagne, James Bay, Snoop Dog and Childish Gambino.
Positioned between the San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the Lodi appellation, while relatively far inland, is able to maintain a classic Mediterranean climate featuring warm, sunny days and cool evenings. This is because the appellation is uniquely situated at the end of the Sacramento River Delta, which brings chilly, afternoon “delta breezes” to the area during the growing season.
Lodi is a premier source of 100+ year old ancient Zinfandel vineyards—some dating back as far as 1888! With low yields of small berries, these heritage vines produce complex and bold wines, concentrated in rich and voluptuous, dark fruit.
But Lodi doesn’t just produce Zinfandel; in fact, the appellation produces high quality wines from over 100 different grape varieties. Among them are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc as well as some of California's more rare and unique grapes. Lodi is recognized as an ideal spot for growing Spanish varieties like Albarino and Tempranillo, Portugese varieties—namely Touriga Nacional—as well as many German, Italian and French varieties.
Soil types vary widely among Lodi’s seven sub-appellations (Cosumnes River, Alta Mesa, Deer Creek Hills, Borden Ranch, Jahant, Clements Hills and Mokelumne River). The eastern hills are clay-based and rocky and in the west, along the Mokelumne and Cosumnes Rivers, sandy and mineral-heavy soils support the majority of Lodi’s century-old own-rooted Zinfandel vineyards. Unique to Lodi are pink Rocklin-Jahant loam soils, mainly found in the Jahant sub-appellation.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.