With the Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure just around the corner, I thought it was the perfect time to write about one of my favorite new Garagiste winemakers, Cholame Vineyard.
Cholame (pronounced “Sho-Lamb”) doesn’t have a tasting room, so you have to catch them at festivals such as the Garagiste Festival, at local wine events, or at a select few restaurants and tasting rooms in Solvang & Orange County.
I had the incredibly good fortune of attending one of their wine events this spring and discovered what quickly became one of my favorite wineries. Founded in 2006, Cholame was the happy result of a motorcycle ride vintner David DuBois took with a friend through the back roads outside of Paso Robles.
Inspired by the beauty in the area and by a great lunch at the Parkfield Cafe in the Cholame Valley, David decided to come back and explore the area further. Cholame is a Yokut Indian word meaning “The Beautiful One”, which summed up David’s feelings about the Valley perfectly.
He purchased 75 acres along Vineyard Canyon Road and planted 10 acres of vines, taking special care to choose varietals that would work well with the soil and climate. Since then, David and his award-winning winemaker Andres Ibarra have handcrafted a beautiful portfolio of wines, fitting of the name “Cholame”.
At the April event, I had the opportunity to taste through Cholame’s current releases, which included a ’14 Grenache Rose, ’13 Summer Shade Grenache Blanc, a ’12 Chardonnay, ’12 Cross Country Rhone Blend, a ’11 Zinfandel and a ’11 Bull Pen Tempranillo. The wines were accompanied by a selection of cheeses and hors d’oeuvres.
I also had a chance to speak with both Andres Ibarra and David DuBois who I could easily have talked to for hours. I loved hearing the passionate stories about how Cholame came to be and about the journey they’ve taken to make the winery what it is today.
There really wasn’t a wine in the portfolio I didn’t like. t took home several bottles, including the ’13 Summer Shade Grenache Blanc which was full of tropical fruit, the juicy and slightly spicy ’12 Cross Country Rhone Blend, and the ’14 Rose which was full of strawberry and perfect for summertime.
It was such a wonderful day. A huge thank you to David, Andres, Katelyn, Cate and the entire Cholame team for your hospitality and for introducing me to your outstanding wines.
If you’re heading to the Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure this July 11th, make sure Cholame Vineyard is on your list…
Phone: (805) 610-1122