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A Rock-Solid Wine

By Amy Madsen / Photography By Ron Wallace | November 30, 2017
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Grapevines love to sink their roots deep into calcium carbonate, which is why some of the world’s best wine regions sit on limestone-rich soil. Plan B Wine Cellars has figuratively sunk its roots into limestone as well—thanks to its unconventional location next to a retail stone yard in Ventura.

As an homage to the winery’s location and to a traditional Rhone blend, Plan B offers a lovely red blend called The Stoneyard. Released in August, the wine is 45% Grenache, 45% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre. Otherwise known as a GSM, this wine is typical of those from the Southern Rhone Valley.

“We have always made an Old-World blend—a GSM, or sometimes a GMS,” says Winemaker Marlow Barger, referring to a combination that increases the amount of Mourvedre from 10% to upwards of 40%. The Stoneyard, whose blend varies from year to year, “is a reminder of our history and tradition,” says Barger.

Barger, who owns the 5-year-old winery with his wife, Janis, sourced the Grenache and Mourvedre grapes from Happy Canyon in Santa Barbara County; the Syrah from Valley View Vineyard in Santa Ynez Valley. Like all Plan B wines, it was bottle-aged for at least a year, allowing the tannins to soften and the complexity to develop for immediate drinkability.

The Stoneyard, a 2013 vintage, is a rock-solid expression of a Southern Rhone blend: shimmery in the glass, red and black fruit on the nose, medium-bodied and full-flavored with food-friendly acidity. If this wine were an animal, says Barger, it would be a friendly, tail-wagging Labrador Retriever.

Although Barger says he’s “more a fan of pouring than pairing,” The Stoneyard would go nicely with a charcuterie plate or garlicky roast chicken.

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Article from Edible Ojai & Ventura County at
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