The PERSON: Bob Lindquist
The PLACE: California’s Central Coast (Santa Maria and Edna Valley)
After managing a wine shop in Los Olivos and working as a tour guide (and unofficial assistant to assistant winemaker to Jim Clendenen) at Zaca Mesa Winery, Qupe founder Bob Lindquist caught the winemaking bug. In 1982, he began making wine (Chardonnay, Syrah and a dry rosé of Pinot Noir, for a total of 900 cases) under his own Qupe label first at Zaca Mesa and then in rented space at other Central Coast wineries. Following the 1983 harvest, Bob left Qupe to make it on his own. As Qupe’s production grew, Bob focused his efforts on Syrah and other Rhône varieties, but continued to make Chardonnay, which helped to pay the bills.
In 1989, Bob joined his old friend Jim Clendenen (who founded his Au Bon Climat in 1982) to build a winery together under a lease agreement with Bien Nacido Vineyards. Both Qupe and Au Bon Climate continue produce their wines at that facility located on the Santa Maria Mesa. In 2002, Bob and his wife Louisa Sawyer Lindquist purchased an 80-acre ranch in the Edna Valley. In 2005, the couple planted the 40-acre Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard, which is planted to Pinot Noir, Marsanne, Syrah, Grenache, Tempranillo, and Albariño, and farmed biodynamically.
QUPE Bien Nacido Cuvee, Santa Maria Valley, 2012 ($15.19)
A 13.5% alcohol blend of 33% Chardonnay and 67% Viognier barrel fermented using full malo-lactic in all seasoned barrels. The Chardonnay is harvested early for freshness and the Viognier comes in later for more flavor development. Yellow straw in color with well-formed legs; dry, medium-bodied with fresh acidity. Fresh and bright with tropical and citrus fruit. Supple. Hints at the exotic. Maybe with scallops or some curry …?. BearScore: 89.
QUPE “Y Block” Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County, 2012 ($15.19)
A 13.5% alcohol, 100% Chardonnay whole cluster pressed; chilled overnight in a tank; racked directly to barrel the next day with most of the lees; and given a complete barrel fermentation with malo-lactic fermentation in the barrel. Aged on the lees for 9 months using all French oak barrels (about 25% new). Yellow straw in color with well formed legs; dry, medium-full-bodied with freshly balanced acidity light phenolics. Fresh and lively with mixed tree, citrus, and tropical fruit. Flirts with exotic but comes into the mainstream of California. YUM. BearScore: 91.
QUPE Maxtap Cuvee, Central Coast, 2011 ($15.19)
A 13.5% alcohol blend of 64% Syrah, 18% Grenache, 15% Tempranillo, and 3% Mourvedre from a mix of vineyards in both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. The various lots were fermented separately using tboth manual punch-downs and pump-overs, aged for 15 months in French oak barrels (none new) and lightly fined with egg whites. Sensory: Deep-red in color with well formed legs; dry, medium-bodied with freshly balanced acidity and medium-chewy phenolics. Dusty with garrigue and dark-and-darker-red fruit with a bit of black fruit. Very Rhoney in style. Perfect with braised meats, a slow cooked meat sauce, or a mixed grill. BearScore: 91.
QUPE Syrah, Central Coast, 2012 ($15.19)
A 13.5% alcohol 100% Syrah (56% Paso Robles, 26% Santa Barbara and 18% Edna Valley – French Camp in Paso Robles, Chabot in the Los Alamos area of Santa Barbara County, Sawyer Lindquist in the Edna Valley, Bien Nacido in the Santa Maria Valley and Carriage Vineyard in the Templeton area of Paso Robles). About half was fermented in small open tops with manual punchdowns and the other half was fermented in larger stainless steel tanks with pump overs. The various lots were fermented and aged 18 months in neutral French oak barrels. It was racked and blended about a month before bottling, fined with egg whites, cold stabilized, and lightly filtered. Deep-purple in color, with red highlight and with well formed legs; dry, full-bodied with balanced acidity; medium chewy phenolics. classic, rich but balanced. firm but fleshy ripe juicy black (with a hint of red) fruit Syrah. Hints at the northern rhone and at barrosa but it is clearly California. Big feel and lots of flavor. YUM. BearScore: 92.
QUPE “Sawyer Lindquest Vineyard” Grenache, Edna Valley, 2011 (32.59)
A 13.5% alcohol blend of 87% Grenache (73% Alban clone and 27% Tablas clones) with 13% Syrah. The Syrah portion is from neutral barrels that were selected for our single vineyard Syrah bottling. A little over half of the Grenache was fermented with 33% whole clusters. The Grenache was aged in neutral French oak, on the lees, for 17 months. The Syrah was blended in just before bottling. Medium-red in color with well-formed legs; dry, medium-bodied with balanced acidity and medium phenolics. This is a fresh red fruit (cherries and mixed berries) Grenache. Lovely in the mouth. Bigger but still fresh feel. Notes of black pepper and a hint of dusty garrigue. BearScore: 92+.
QUPE “Sawyer Lindquest Vineyard” Syrah, Edna Valley, 2010 ($32.59)<
A 13.5% alcohol, 100% Syrah from the Sawyer Lindquist estate vineyard (five different Syrah clones from three distinct blocks with a total of 14 different lots representing different clones, different blocks and different degrees of ripeness. Each lot was fermented separately in small open top fermenters with most containing some percentage of whole clusters. The wines were aged a total of 17 months in French oak barrels (40% new). Purple-red in color with well-formed legs, medium-full-bodied with freshly balanced acidity and medium-plus phenolics. Minty, minerally, deep, rich, lovely, mostly (darker) red fruit Syrah. Real Deal. Elegant, ripe, and juicy but that elegance is the thing. Delicious. BearScore: 93+.
QUPE “Bien Nacido” Syrah, Santa Maria Valley, 2010 ($25.99)&
A 13.5% Alcohol, 100% Syrah with 65% of the grapes from the X Block, the oldest Syrah block at Bien Nacido (planted in 1973 to Riesling and grafted to Syrah in 1986), and 35% from the Baja section of Block Eleven, a hillside block planted in 1997. The X Block portion was 45% whole cluster fermented. The wine was aged for 19 months in mostly French oak barrels (20% new). Purple in color well formed legs; dry, medium full-bodied with balanced acidity and chewy phenolics. Rustic initially but then gets fresher and fruitier as it develops in the glass. Ripe with dark red mostly berry fruit. Satisfying. YUM. BearScore: 94.
QUPE “Hillside Estate Bien Nacido Vineyard” Syrah, Santa Maria Valley, 2009 ($37.89)
A 13.5% alcohol 100% Syrah from the “Z Block” (planted for Qupe in 1992 on a southwest facing hillside slope) at Bien Nacido Vineyard fermented in small open top fermenters with manual punch downs and aged 20 months in Francois Freres Burgundy barrels (about 50% new). Deep-purple in color with well formed legs; dry, medium-full-bodied with freshly balanced acidity and chewy phenolics. Deep and rich with lots of red and black fruit accented with earth, coffee grounds, and dark spices. Satisfying and delicious even as it maintains its elegance. BearScore: 93+.
NOTE: All prices list reflect Spec’s famous 5% discount for “cash.”