Eve's Wine 101: Garagiste Urban Exposure: Their First Wine Tasting at Union Station

Posted on: 07/18/2014 00:00

I’d been to a couple of Garagiste Festivals held in Paso Robles since they began.  The latest incarnation, held locally in the Los Angeles Union Station, was very attractive as it was close, and the perfect excuse to skip the drive and take the Metrolink.

During the event I had an opportunity to speak with Co-Founder Doug Minnick and asked what he thought of his latest event, Minnick said, “We always have an interesting venue and this fits that bill.  Love the space.”

Hearing from pals the day before the event, that said they couldn’t get in as it was sold out, Minnick said, “We sold out about a week before today.  Even friends that called me last minute couldn’t get in…there is interest in growing bigger and keeping the spirit that we have.” 

So for now I would say, get your tickets early for their November 6-9 event in Paso Robles, and stay tuned to http://www.garagistefestival.com

GARAGISTES – (gar-uh-zhē-stuh) n, Fr. – A term originally used in the Bordeaux region of France to denigrate renegade small-lot wine makers, sometimes working in their garage, who refused to follow the “rules.” Now a full-fledged movement responsible for making some of the best wine in the world. Who’s laughing now, Francois? Syn: Rule-breakers, pioneers, renegades, mavericks, driven by passion.

Welcome to Garagiste, a place for the underground, the different, and the cutting edge of small production winemaking with no rules.

Story in photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10203377344781758.1073741876.1455706632&type=1&l=69c81fec98


Ed’s Picks?  Yep, I had to take a break while my hubby kept on going; his picks are in italics in the wine list below.  I bolded the wineries below that I got to visit, all had notable wines including:

Alma Sol Winery 2011 Meritage blend of 75% Cabernet and 25% Merlot.

Archium Cellars 2013 Santa Barbara Rosé and 2012 Dissident Rhone blend of 52% Syrah and 40% Grenache from the Stolpman Vineyard.

Santa Barbara’s Carucci Wines had an excellent 2010 Syrah from the Thompson Vineyard.

De Su Propia Cosecha 2011 Roussanne, and 2010 Red Blend of 68% Grenache, 24% Syrah and 8% Petit Sirah – both wines made from fruit from the Stolpman Vineyard.  (There was a rumor that was spread during the event that 50% of Stolpman’s fruit is sold to others.  I’d love to do a tasting of Stolpman fruit, one variety, all done by different winemakers.)

Dilecta Wines 2011 “Unorthodox” Syrah and “The Tiller” blend of 64% Grenache and 36% Syrah were standouts.

Kessler-Haak Wines pleased a lot of people that like Sparkling Rosé – they had a 2012 Estate that was filled with strawberry flavors.  We also enjoyed their 2010 Estate Grown Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

LXV Wines had one fun blend nicknamed the “Dirty Girl” as instead of a GSM it was a GST with Grenache, Syrah and Tempranillo, the 2012 Rising Tempo.  Ed also dug the 2012 “Secret Craving” made with Cabernet France, Syrah and Merlot.

Winemaker Ethan Lindquist and photographer/winemaker Lee Tomkow manned the No Limit Wines table.   I enjoyed their entire lineup, especially Ethan’s own label: 2010 Ethan Stolpman Vineyard Sangiovese.  Walked away from the table with the thought of a cigar pairing with that one and I don’t smoke.

My favorite wine of the day was served by at ONX Wines, the 2011 Praetorian blend of 64% Tempranillo, 12% Malbec, 12% Grenache and 12% Mourvedre.  Their “Indie” label was apt as I thought they expressed an independent flair in using Tempranillo in many of their wine, including a remarkable Indie Tempranillo Rosé.

Rendarrio Wines was a new one for me, again enjoying the entire lineup, from a 2011 White Wine blend through their 2012 lineup of Chardonnay, Grenache-Syrah, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot Cabernet blend.  (It didn’t hurt that they poured next to Pulchella Winery, my own local favorite.)

Hailing from Argentina, Rule of Three wines served up a 2012 Malbec from the Uco Valley, Mendoza. 

The Farm Winery, owned by the affable Jim and Azmina Madsen, excelled in all of their wines, including 2010 The Big Game blend of Cabernet, Petit Verdot and Syrah.  Another fave at their table was the 2010 Touchy-Feely blend of Grenache and Syrah.

Finally got to meet winemaker William Allen and try his Two Shepherds wines out of Sonoma County.   Of special note was the 2012 Pastoral Blanc, 2013 Viognier, and a new one for me: a very elegant 2012 Trousseau Gris.

At Vinemark Cellars I enjoyed the 100% 2012 Primitivo and the 2012 Mezzanotte blend of 75% Primitivo and 25% Petite Syrah.  I felt the winemaker had a light hand as these wines had high alcohol, but it was a surprise as the were balanced without an overabundance of heat.

I had just reviewed the latest vintage from Workman Ayer but I stopped by the table to meet winemaker Michel Ayer.  Michel pulled out a 2010 Viognier for us to sample and I thought the extra age added a slight layer of sweetness to the wine, very pleasant.

The Buzz

Wineries people were talking about included Center of Effort, Central Coast Group Project, and Cutruzzola Vineyards for their 2009 Riesling.

Wine List

Among the over 40 winemakers already scheduled to pour are:  Alma Fria Winery*, Alma Sol Winery, Alta Colina Vineyards, Archium Cellars, Ascension Cellars, Autonom, Blue Cape Cellars*, Bon Niche Cellars, Bratcher Winery*, Carucci Wines, Center of Effort, Cholame Vineyards, Cloak & Dagger Wines, Cutruzzola Vineyards, De Su Propia Cosecha*Dilecta Wines, Dubost Ranch, DV8 Cellars, Frequency, Graef Wines, Kessler-Haak VineyardsLa Fenetre Wines, Levo Wines*, Luminesce, LXV Wines, Marin’s Vineyard*, MCV Wines, Montemar Wines, Native9, No Limit Wines, ONX Wines, Pulchella Winery*, Rendarrio WinesRule of Three Wines, Seven Angels Cellars, Shai Cellars, Singer Cellars*, Soaring Hawk Vineyards*, Stanger Vineyards, The Farm Winery, Turiya Wines, Two Shepherds WineryVinemark Cellars, Vines on the Marycrest, Vino V Wines*, Weatherborne and Workman/Ayer*. *Wineries new to the Garagiste Festival

Eve’s Wine 101 Event Picks: Wally's Central Coast Wine & Food Celebration 7/27, Vine 2 Wine CLASSIC 8/16, Trump Festival 8/24, A WiSHful Event in the Vineyard Harvest Fest 9/6, Rhone Rangers LA 9/9, and continuous events and classes are offered from LearnAboutWine.com.


Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years.  She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a guest judge for the L.A. International Wine Competition.  You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column.


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