Localization: Santa Barbara, California, USA
Tasting Notes: This is a classic cool-climate Chardonnay made in a traditional, balanced style. On the nose, find sharp aromas of citrus zest, green apples, and pears, with just a hint of vanilla and oak, followed by naturally fresh, crisp acidity balanced with a mouth-coating viscosity from aging on the lees. Completely dry, this is an elegantly balanced and structured Chardonnay.
The Domain: Qupé is honored to be a member of the Rhone Rangers, America’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to promoting American Rhone varietal wines. American Rhone-style wines are made from the same grapes that have flourished for centuries in France’s Rhone River Valley, and their growing popularity in the United States speaks to their versatility with food, wide range of rich flavors, and the skills of American winemakers. The Rhone Ranger’s mission is to educate the public on Rhone varietal wine grapes grown in America and to promote the production and enjoyment of these wines, with emphasis on integration into our daily lives. For a wine to qualify as a “Rhone Rangers” wine, the winery must be a member of the organization and 75% of the wine’s content must include one or more of the twenty-two traditional Rhone grape varieties as approved by the French government for the wines of the Cotes du Rhone (including Petite Sirah/Durif).
In contrast to the Old World, Qupé focuses on cool climate expressions of Rhône varietals due to a distinctive geographical feature that sets them apart from most other regions of California: all vineyards are located in East-West valleys (vs North-South) which function as open windows to the cool Pacific Ocean. The benefit to the vineyards of being along the coast and running East-West is that the cold, moist air gets pulled in and creates a layer of morning cloud cover over the vines which reduces temperatures and sun exposure on the grapes. This is why cool climate varieties excel in the coastal regions of the Central Coast and allows Qupé to focus on cool climate expressions of Rhone varietals. East-West valleys on the Central Coast that Qupé sources from include Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Los Alamos Valley, and Santa Rita Hills/Santa Ynez Valley.
The name "qupé" was chosen to honor the Chumash, the indigenous people of the Golden State's Central Coast and Channel Islands. In Chumash, "qupé" refers to the poppy, a flowering plant traditionally used for food and medicine. In 1903 the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) was officially designated the state flower, and every spring masses of the bright orange blossoms still blanket local hills and back country.