Qupé wines focus on quality, Rhone-style wines from the Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria, the Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard in the Edna Valley and the Ibarra-Young Vineyard in Los Olivos, where they farm organically.
Qupé (pronounced ‘kyoo-pay') is the Chumash Indian word for the Californian poppy. The Chumash are native to California's Central Coast and Channel Islands and the California poppy is their state flower. Bob Lindquist added the accent to the word Qupé and gave it the pronunciation.
Born in the Midwestern US, Robert Neil ‘Bob’ Lindquist moved to Southern California with his family in 1964 and, while attending UC Irvine in the early 1970s, discovered quality wine and was instantly was hooked. He began frequenting Hi-Time Cellars, a well-stocked shop in Costa Mesa, asking lots of questions and buying all the wine he could afford. In 1979, Bob moved to the Santa Ynez Valley to manage an innovative wine shop in the little town of Los Olivos. While working at Zaca Mesa Winery, Bob began buying grapes and barrels, and foregoing a pay cheque in exchange for the use of their equipment. In 1982, he founded Qupé and produced Chardonnay, Syrah and a Pinot Noir dry rosé. Bob struck out on his own and left Zaca Mesa following the 1983 harvest, renting space in other area estates to make wine for Qupé. As production grew, Bob focused his efforts on Syrah and other Rhône varieties, but continued to craft ever-popular Chardonnay. In 1989, Bob joined his old friend Jim Clendenen (who founded Au Bon Climat in 1982) to build a winery of their own under a lease agreement with Bien Nacido Vineyards. The two continue to work together at the elegant facility, located on the Santa Maria Mesa.
Over the years, Bob and Jim have mentored dozens of winemakers and has made his business a true family affair: Bob's two older sons, Ethan and Luke Lindquist, have become makers, while his daughter, Paige, developed and managed Qupé’s tasting room and wine club for the first four years. In 2002, Bob and Louisa purchased an 80-acre ranch in the Edna Valley near the city of San Luis Obispo. The following year they moved to San Luis Obispo with their then two-year-old son, Theo. In 2005, the couple installed the 40-acre Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard, which is planted to Pinot Noir, Marsanne, Syrah, Grenache, Tempranillo, and Albariño, and farmed according to strict biodynamic standards.
This particular red is 100% Syrah from vineyards in both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. This 2012 is 62% from cool climate vineyards in Santa Barbara County, Edna Valley and southern San Luis Obispo County, and 38% from warmer climate Paso Robles. The most prominent vineyards in the blend in order of percentage are 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 Alamo Creek near the southern border of San Luis Obispo County 2012 was a year of bountiful grapes of high quality and the weather was perfect for long slow ripening. The pace of harvest was fast, but not crazy, it was without pressure from Mother Nature to pick grapes that had ripened too quickly, or too early. All lots were fermented separately using traditional techniques. They were aged in neutral French oak barrels for a minimum of 14 months.
This is a pretty classic bottling of their Central Coast Syrah and is their 31st consecutive vintage. The cooler climate grapes lend a savoury, spicy character with refreshing acidity and balanced alcohol. The warmer climate grapes give a more forward fruit character and add suppleness and earlier drinkability. This is the first vintage that they have bottled entirely under screwcap.