Tag Archives: Paix Sur Terre

Backing into the Garagiste


It’s spring time again and right on cue is  The Third Annual Garagiste Festival Southern Exposure!

Admittedly, I am a fan of this little event. Well it was a little event when it started four long years ago in Paso. Then it was a one day tasting, now it’s morphed into a 3-day event of seminars and tastings. And best yet, you are 20% likely to find a wine you enjoy at the Garagiste Festival, let me explain…..

Garagiste Festival Southern Exposure

I have found some gems at Garagiste. The first to come to mind is that crazy dry-farming duo in Paso, Phillip Hart & Mary Morwood Hart, who together make up Ambyth Estate. Then there was the Tempier loving (well who doesn’t love it) winemaker Ryan Pease, of the Southern Rhône influenced, Paix-sur-Terre (that’s Peace on Earth…see what they did there?) Then there’s the Tim Riggins look-alike, Central Coast’s very own Texan, Ryan Roark, who is inspired and lived in the Loire Valley (he loves talking about minerality).

I like this event, but it’s not to say, if you are a Garagiste, aka a small producer, that you make good wines. In fact, it’s the contrary, there are a few amateur wines here. BUT, of the four Garagiste tastings I’ve been to, I have always seemed to find one or two superb wines. From that there are usually five or six great wines. So, of the 30-odd wines at these tastings there’s a 20% hit rate on very good wines….not too shabby….and that’s statistically proven.

Another, little thing I like about these guys. Because less popular grapes tend to be cheaper, it’s at these sort of events where you might see the beginning of a trend or two. I’m not dropping any Trousseau bombs…..but you never know.

Garagiste Festival Southern Exposure runs from Friday March 27th to Sunday the 29th.
There is still some availability to the individual events.
For ticket details go to: http://www.showclix.com/event/GaragisteSE2015

The Saturday and Sunday tastings have different wineries:
Winemakers on Saturday Include: Apical Cellars, Archium Cellars, Baehner Fournier, Bellissimo Cellars, Bradley Family Winery, Brophy Clark, Carivintas Winery, Carucci Wines, Clos Des Amis, Cordon Wines, Cotiere, Crawford Family Wines, Dascomb Cellars, Ferguson Crest, Kessler-Haak Vineyards, La Montagne Winery, Larner Vineyards, Levo Wines, No Limit Wines, Pence Ranch, Press Gang Cellars, Roark Wine Co., SamSara Wine Co., Scott Cellars, Seagrape Cellars, Section Wines, Solminer Wines, Turiya Wines and Weatherborne.

Winemakers on Sunday Include: Alta Colina Vineyards, Ascension Cellars, Barbieri Wines, Big Tar Wines, Central Coast Group Project, Center of Effort Wines, Cloak & Dagger Wines, Conarium Wines, Dilecta Wines, Dreamcote Wine Co., Falcone Family Vineyards, Graef Wines, Imagine Wines, J. Brix Wines, J. Ludlow Vineyard, Mattina Fiore, MCV Wines, Mount Dorado Winery, Pace Family Wines, Ryan Cochrane Wines, STANGER Vineyards, Tercero Wines, Tierra y Vino, Vines on the Marycrest, Vino Vargas, Wandering Dog Wines, Workman Ayer and Zeppelin Winery.

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Garagiste Festival, taking the wine show helm in Paso Robles


Now that Hospice du Rhône has vacated the festival ‘throne’ in Paso Robles, CA there is an opening for a newly crowned king.  The Garagiste Festival is only in its second year but might very well be the heir apparent.

There is a2nd Annual Garagiste Festival Paso Robles sameness recipe that a lot of wine shows just can’t seem to break.  Endless rows of clothed folding tables in some sort of pavilion or civic center, a of mass people all who all seem to be asking for the same wine and of course the tiny ISO approved wine glass.

Well there is a light at the end of the dimly lit wine show tunnel and it just might be The Garagiste Festival.  It’s breaking the wine show mold and this is partly due to the grounds they host the show on, Windfall Farms.  A converted barn, gives a more intimate feel when you chat to the producers.  It only allows wineries producing 1200 bottles or less to pour their wine, so a lot of the wineries here don’t have their own pump, let alone a tasting room.

I enjoy this show because you are going to find a few of gems.  Last year I discovered one of the most serious natural wine producers in the Central Coast, Ambyth Estates,
who proved that wines with acidity exist  in the land of big fruit and even bigger alcohol.

Another positive on the Garagiste front is the total lack of fluff and glitter that tends to pair far too often with wine shows.  I have no doubt this is due mainly to the one of the show’s co-founders, Stewart McLennan.  Stewart, who’s an Aussie, is all you would expect in a brash, to the point, no-nonsence antipodean.  Such personalities are very welcome in the slightly plastic Californian wine world.

I asked Stewart if he was taking Hospice’s spot “I don’t want to be the next Hospice, I don’t like their time slot in Summer and I don’t want to lose our location here. I do however want to grow Garagiste to include wineries from oversees like they did.” There are also rumors/rumblings of the Garagiste Festival traveling out side of Paso to other wine regions in California….I’ll be the first to support that,  and wish the supporters luck in their quest.

So, of the 48 some producers on show, here are my favorites, no particular order.

Ground Effect – Nick de Luca’s wine was one of the few from Santa Barbara County. Nick’s very into low, low sulfur use btw.  2011 Rock Garden is a blend of Syrah/Grenache/Zin – it had some dense concentration, a deep of berries, lavender and herb like finish.

2010 Ground Effect Rock Garden

2010 Ground Effect Rock Garden

Stage Left Cellars  – Melinda Doty and her husband make their wine in Oakland.

The 2009 The Escape Artist is 100% Syrah from Watch Hill Vineyard in Santa Barbara County.  Lovely fruit on this one with loads of spice and minerals.

2009 Stage Left Cellars The Escape Artist

2009 Stage Left Cellars The Escape Artist

Chris Von Holt  of Von Holt had a 2010 Pinot Noir Bacigalupi Vineyard from Russian River Valley. Really liked this Pinot sour cherry fruit and pencil lead minerality, some nice tarry asphalt as well.

He just got mentioned as of one of Jon Bonné’s Top 100 in the Chronicle too (good job guys).  Also, interesting to note, you hear about ex-lawyers/doctors retiring into the wine world.  Well Chris was a secret service man – working with a bunch of different presidents and a certain president’s daughter who went to Stanford!!!!

2010 Pinot Noir Bacigalupi Vineyard, Russian River Valley

2010 Pinot Noir Bacigalupi Vineyard, Russian River Valley

Paix Sur Terre is owned by Ryan and Nicole Pease – their making Rhône blends – Particularly liked the 2010 Passenger, a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre all though the alcohol was a bit high for me at 15.6%, the wine still came out quite balanced.  Labels are pretty sweet too. Their 2010 The Other One was quite a good tipple as well of mostly Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah.

2010 Paix sur Terre Passenger

2010 Paix sur Terre Passenger

2010 Paix Sur Terre The Other One

2010 Paix Sur Terre The Other One

Les Deux Chats – Being an owner of two cats myself how could I not mention these guys!

Liked the 2010 Viognier, despite being from the fairly hot climate of Lodi and having 15.4% alcohol (WOW!!!) the wine was surprisingly soft, well balanced, not flabby and very pleasant.

2010 Les Deux Chat Ripken Vineyard Viognier

2010 Les Deux Chat Ripken Vineyard Viognier

Amy Butler of Ranchero Cellars, named after her vintage Ford Rancero, sources her 2010 Carignan from 5ft high ancient vines up in Mendocino.  Love this stuff and had it last year….this vintage was actually better than the ’09 I had last time. Also, just found out Amy won “Spirit of Garagiste’ award! Congratulations!

2010 Ranchero Cellars Carignan

2010 Ranchero Cellars Carignan

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