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