Craig Stoller and his wife Nancy are the proprietors of Sextant Wines. Craig’s family started in the vine rootstock business in 1977. Not content to just sell vines, Craig found his real interest was in growing grapes and from there gradually moved from selling his grapes to making wine. He says, “I absolutely love this living, breathing thing called wine.” Craig and Nancy’s combined experience and love of wine took them from a single vineyard block into what Sextant Wines is today.
Alex Frost is the winemaker and Central Coast native. After graduating from Cal Poly’s Wine and Viticulture program he spent time honing his skills both in the Edna Valley as well as in Chile’s central valley. He joined the Sextant team in 2015 bringing a hands-on approach to winemaking from planting to bottling. He is heavily involved in every step of the process.
We love the Sextant story because of the progression of the individual team members through the industry. While maybe not a rags to riches saga each of the members of the team have spent years getting their hands dirty in the vineyards and wineries. The stains prove it. They are also committed to philanthropy and support multiple nonprofit organizations in their community
A sextant is an old-world instrument used to navigate by the stars. Sextant Wines is devoted to expanding the horizons of the Central Coast wine region by navigating new waters. The 2019 Wheelhouse Zinfandel is actually a blend that includes a bit of Syrah and Petite Sirah from their estate vineyards to build tannic structure and bring more depth to the finish. The grapes are fermented separately in stainless steel before aging each again in 25% new French oak to add hints of flavor.
The estate RBZ vineyard was established in 2001 in the heart of the El Pomar District of the Paso Robles AVA. It was originally developed as a certified rootstock nursery by Craig’s family business. This area has huge day to night temperature swings and soils like those found in much of France. Grapes planted here fully ripen with balanced sugar and natural acidity. It was just too tempting not to make a little wine here.
The 2019 Wheelhouse Zinfandel is bursting with aromas of vine ripe strawberries, Bing cherries, and red plums that scream Paso Robles Zinfandel. Furthermore, hints of cocoa powder and fresh vanilla bean add layers and depth to the aroma. Raspberry like acidity on the front palate leads to a silky, cherry cola essence on the mid palate. The oak shines through on the finish leaving you with pleasant toasty vanilla hints that will bring you back for more.
Bill loves his zins and has a soft spot for other entrepreneurs. He says, “The blending of other Bordeaux varietals into this wine makes it an especially tasty and easy to drink offering.” Like Craig, Bill juggles multiple businesses that are all organized around a particular personal passion. Finding hidden gems made by great people with interesting stories is what we are all about. This one is definitely a keeper.