Tag Archives: sauvignon blanc

Highlights from the Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure | The Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA

Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure at The Wiltern

Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure at The Wiltern

Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure

Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure at The Wiltern

One of my absolute favorite things about the Garagiste Festivals is the opportunity to discover new wines and meet the incredibly gifted people who make them.

Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure at The Wiltern

Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure at The Wiltern

Even with a few Garagiste Festivals under my belt, I’m always amazed by how much new, little-known wine talent shows up at each event to share the fruits of their labor – some of whom are pouring their very first vintage.  I’ve discovered many of my favorite wines at past Garagiste Festivals, but I also love exploring some new ones.

Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure at The Wiltern

Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure at The Wiltern

Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure at The Wiltern

Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure at The Wiltern

That being said, here are a few of my new favorites from the recent Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure at the iconic Wiltern theater…

Frequency Wines

Almond Wasserman of Frequency Wines

Almond Wasserman of Frequency Wines

Frequency Wines

Frequency Wines

Frequency Wines is a label started by brother-sister duo Almond & Zac Wasserman.  Since their first vintage in 2010, Frequency has received rave reviews from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate for their beautifully crafted Rhone varietals, and last year they opened their own tasting room in the hip little town of Los Alamos, CA.  I absolutely loved their 2014 GSM & 2014 Zotovich Syrah.

Artisan Uprising

Artisan Uprising

Artisan Uprising

Artisan Uprising's beautiful hand-drawn label

Artisan Uprising’s beautiful hand-drawn label

Artisan Uprising’s David & William Vondrasek are true Garagistes.  Before releasing their first commercial vintage in 2012, the brothers had already spent years learning from their grandfather who made wine in his basement, and crafting wines for the family to enjoy.  After winning a few competitions, developing their own style, and stockpiling more wine than the family could consume, Artisan Uprising was born.  Now the brothers meticulously hand craft their wines using grapes from some of the best vineyards in Paso Robles and adorn each bottle with a beautiful label drawn by their sister.

Coda Wines

CODA Wines

Spencer Daly of Coda Wines

Spencer Daly of Coda Wines is one of the coolest winemakers I’ve met.  The 25-year-old just released his first vintage as an homage to the two things he loves most – music and wine.  A coda in the musical sense typically designates a movement or structure in a piece of music.  Spencer has named each wine under the Coda label with a musical term, harmoniously blending his two passions.

Spencer believes both music and wine are a reflection of the artist who created them, and both evoke certain moods and experiences.  I couldn’t agree more.  I thought his 2014 Sauvignon Blanc and 2013 Syrah were particularly delicious and can’t wait to see what the future holds for Coda.

PHOTO:  Spencer Daly of Coda Wines.  Courtesy of the Coda Wines Facebook page.

Weatherborne Wine Corp.

Cris Carter of Weatherborne Wine Corp.

Cris Carter of Weatherborne Wine Corp.

To me, there’s nothing like an exceptional Pinot Noir and Cris Carter of Weatherborne Wine Corp is making just that.  I’ve been raving about Weatherborne since Cris released his first vintage last year – a 2012 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir crafted using grapes from the John Sebastiano and Melville Vineyards.

This year, he released his 2013 vintage, which is 100% John Sebastiano fruit.      While the 2012 is a bit tart and juicy with a bright acidity, the 2013 is darker, spicier, and multi-layered.  Weatherborne has definitely proven that the same grape – Pinot Noir – can produce two incredible wines with distinctly different flavor profiles.

Other Garagiste wines I highly recommend include:
Alta Colina
Archium Cellars
Casa Dumetz
Cholame Vineyard
Cloak & Dagger Wines
Dilecta Wines
Larner Wine
C. Nagy Wines
Tercero Wines

I hope to see everyone at the next Garagiste Festival in Paso Robles in November… Cheers!

 

Highlights from the 2nd Annual “Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure”

Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure

Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure

Last weekend, some of the finest local, small production wine making talent around gathered at the Veterans Memorial Building in Solvang, CA for the 2nd annual “Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure“.

Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure

Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure

Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure

Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure

This year, a Grand Tasting was held on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon, with a different lineup each day.  With 60 wineries pouring over the course of two days, and only a limited amount of time, I feel like I only scratched the surface. While I had a hard time choosing favorites among all the incredible wines I did get to taste, I managed to narrow my list down to a few stand-outs.   If you can get your hands on any of the wines below, I highly recommend you do… Archium Cellars Garagistes Zach Jarosz and Ian Sergy of Archium Cellars poured their 1st vintage at the festival, which included a delicious portfolio of Rhone varietals.  I particularly liked the Provencal-style ’13 Grenache Rosé and the juicy ’12 “Haven” Grenache.

Zach Jarosz & Ian Sergy of Archium Cellars

Zach Jarosz & Ian Sergy of Archium Cellars

Delicious '13 Grenache Rose from Archium Cellars

Delicious ’13 Grenache Rose from Archium Cellars

Archium Cellars

Archium Cellars

Press Gang Cellars Press Gang Cellars is winemaker Kyle Knapp and his wife, Savanna’s labor of love and true passion.  The Press Gang Cellars portfolio included some outstanding Rhone varietals, including a ’10 Grenache and a crisp ’13 Grenache Rosé “Savanna Rhea”.

Press Gang Cellars

Press Gang Cellars

Press Gang Cellars

Press Gang Cellars

Kyle & Savanna Knapp of Press Gang Cellars

Kyle & Savanna Knapp of Press Gang Cellars

Roark Wine Company Ryan Roark of Roark Wine Company takes a minimal approach to wine making and truly lets the grapes speak for themselves.  I liked his multilayered, unfiltered ’13 Sauvignon Blanc and his modestly priced ($15/bottle), non-vintage red wine blend he calls “Craigslist Cuvee #2”. As Ryan puts it, “where do you go when you are looking for a deal?  Craigslist!  What do they have on Craigslist?  Everything!  This wine is a blend of loose ends, things that didn’t have a home but that together tasted awesome.”

Roark Wine Company

Roark Wine Company

Ryan Roark of Roark Wine Company

Ryan Roark of Roark Wine Company

Roark Wine Company's "Craigslist Cuvee" Red Wine Blend

Roark Wine Company’s “Craigslist Cuvee #2” Red Wine Blend

Liquid Farm I’m a long-time fan of Liquid Farm’s Chardonnay and Rosé, so I couldn’t resist stopping to try the latest vintage (which of course, was as good as ever).  The ’13 Mourvedre Rosé was dry, crisp, and just heavenly.

Liquid Farm

Liquid Farm

Liquid Farm's Winemaker, James Sparks

Liquid Farm’s Winemaker, James Sparks

C. Nagy Wines It was difficult to pick favorites from Clarissa Nagy of C. Nagy Wines’ current portfolio.  I particularly liked her ’11 Pinot Blanc Bien Nacido Vineyard and ’12 Viognier White Hawk Vineyard – both a little taste of summer in a glass.  I also liked her ’10 Garey Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir, which had an elegant balance of vibrant fruit and spice.

C Nagy Wines

C. Nagy Wines

C Nagy Wines

C. Nagy Wines

a-non-ah-mus Ron Hill of a-non-ah-mus released the label’s first vintage in 2007 and he’s been producing impeccably crafted Rhone varietals ever since.  I really enjoyed the ’12 Viognier which had a beautiful, crisp acidity and the tart, juicy ’10 Alisos Vineyard Grenache.

a-non-ah-mus

a-non-ah-mus

a-non-ah-mus

a-non-ah-mus

Ron Hill of a-non-ah-mus

Ron Hill of a-non-ah-mus

Weatherborne Wine Corp. Winemaker Cris Carter of Weatherborne Wine Corp. was pouring his first vintage (2012) of the one & only varietal he produces (a Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir).  That being said, it was probably one of the best Pinot’s I’ve tasted – the perfect balance of juicy fruit and a hint of spice.  I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for Weatherborne…

Chris Carter of Weatherborne

Cris Carter of Weatherborne Wine Corp.

ONX Wines I had the opportunity to try ONX Wines at the last Garagiste Festival in Paso Robles.  Since then, I’ve fallen in love with the unique blends ONX produces – particularly their Tempranillo based “Praetorian”.  When I found out they were debuting a ’13 Rosé of Tempranillo called “Indie”, I had to try it. Just like all the other wines ONX produces, I can’t recommend the ’13 Indie Rosé enough.  Delicious.

Jeff Strekas of ONX Wines

Jeff Strekas of ONX Wines

The '13 "Indie" Rosé of Tempranillo by ONX Wines

The ’13 “Indie” Rosé of Tempranillo by ONX Wines

Once again, “Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure” provided an invaluable opportunity to taste some outstanding, yet-to-be-discovered wines and to talk to the friendly, passionate artisans who make them.  I hope to see everyone at the next one… Cheers! Related Posts: 2nd Annual “Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure” Returns to Solvang…

Presqu’ile Winery | Los Olivos, CA

Presqu’ile Wine – Los Olivos, CA

Every time I head up to Los Olivos, CA, I feel like the town just gets better and better. With every trip, I seem to uncover an incredible new wine or a fun, new place to grab a bite. This past weekend was certainly no exception.

Presqu’ile Wine – Los Olivos, CA

Presqu’ile Wine – Los Olivos, CA

I decided to try the wines of Presqu’ile and instantly fell in love. The Presqu’ile Wine tasting room is located a couple of doors down from the recently opened Sides Hardware & Shoes restaurant. The restaurant had a 45 minute wait, so we put down our names and headed to Presqu’ile.

Anna Murphy in the Presqu’ile Wine Tasting Room

We walked in the front door and I couldn’t help notice the incredibly cool decor. The room was painted in a deep charcoal that was warmed with splashes of color, interesting art, and great lighting. It was refreshing to see a tasting room with such a unique and contemporary design.

Proper pronunciation of Presqu’ile cleverly written on the tasting room wall

Colorful art on the wall at Presqu’ile

Presqu’ile Wine Tasting Room

I was also thrilled to see a doggy water bowl on the front porch when we arrived. Our dog Booker was welcomed inside and instantly made friends with the tasting room dog, Hazel.

Booker and his new friend Hazel having a blast

While the dogs played, we sat at the bar and started our tasting. They offer a Presqu’ile Flight for $10 which includes a Sauvignon Blanc, a Chardonnay, a Rose and a Pinot Noir. They also offer a tasting flight of 3 Pinot Noirs for $15, or you can taste all 6 wines for $20.

Wine wall at Presqu’ile

Presqu’ile Wine Tasting Menu

We opted for the “taste them all” option, and tasting room manager Anna Murphy took us through the line up while she told us about the history of the winery.

We learned that the Murphy Family owns Presqu’ile and that the name means “almost an island” – an homage to a very special piece of land in the Gulf Coast that belonged to her family and was lost during Hurricane Katrina. The family is working on a permanent Santa Maria winery/tasting room that will open Summer 2013.

Chandelier in the Presqu’ile tasting room

Back to the wine. I thought the entire line up was pretty incredible and had a difficult time picking favorites. Winemaker Dieter Cronje handcrafts the wines in a perfectly balanced, elegant, food friendly style which I really enjoyed – especially in an area with so many super-juicy Pinot Noirs and buttery Chardonnays.

Photo of winemaker Dieter Cronje

Presqu’ile Wine Tasting Room

Presqu’ile Wine Tasting Room

The hot day helped me narrow down my purchases to a 2010 Presqu’ile Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley ($35) and a 2011 Presqu’ile Rose of Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley ($18). I will definitely be back for several bottles of Pinot Noir on my next visit.

Overall, I was so happy we visited Presqu’ile. Anna was such a pleasure to chat with, the vibe of the tasting room was so welcoming and fresh, Booker got a great workout playing with Hazel, and the wines were fantastic. I can’t wait for my next visit.

Click here to visit the Presqu’ile Winery website.

PRESQU’ILE WINERY – TASTING ROOM
2369 Alamo Pintado Avenue
Los Olivos, CA 93441
Phone: (805) 688-2022
Email: info@presquilewine.com
Tasting room hours: 11AM – 5PM Thursday through Monday