Once again the #LAWineWriters met up at Napa Valley Grille in Westwood to have a wine paired luncheon. This time organizer and fellow writer Cori Solomon invited us to taste through some new Rhone wines – Grenache predominant – from a winery in the Santa Ynez AVA: Folded Hills Winery Farmstead Ranch.
We were greeted by the owner, Kim Busch, and general manager Tymari Lore on the patio of the restaurant. There were no less than nine wines for us to try, along with a six course meal created by Chef Ben Diaz. (See photos here.)
What we learned about the winery:
- The vineyards are situated further south than any other vineyards in the Santa Ynez AVA and provide for cooler climate wines.
- The winemaker, Angela Osborne, is also known for her A Tribute to Grace wines.
- Their wine club is called “The Fold” and is very event-centered.
- If you like French Rhônes, many of which are lower in alcohol than the American version, know that the Folded Hills wines we tried ranged from low to mid-range at 12.10% alcohol to 14.5%, with most hovering at about 13%.
- They launched in April 2017 and you can taste the wines in their Montecito tasting room or at the estate in Gaviota.
- This is a small production winery, with 5,500-6,500 case production, and they tend to “sell out fast.” Owner Kim Busch added, “Yes we do sell out of most our wines, all but 2 of which are purposely higher production.”
- If you visit the winery you will not only see vineyards but also fruit trees and farm animals.
According to their brochure the wines “have no residual sugar and one gram or less of carbs, no commercial additives, minimal sulfur, only native yeast, are grown organically following the biodynamic calendar, made from grapes that are 95% estate grown, hand harvested using sustainable practices in the vineyard, are vegan, and crafted consciously to be lower in alcohol…” as well as being family owned.
Below are my tasting notes on the wines and food pairings:
Beet Tartare: Yuzu, hazelnut chimichurri, radish, nasturtium, country bread.
2018 Lilly Rose Grenache: 100% Folded Hills Grenache. Salmon in color, aromas and flavors of pink grapefruit, apple, lemon, graphite. Loved the beets and the Rose cooled down the heat of this dish.
The Nomad Flatbread: Salmon belly, crème fraiche, escabeche, radish, chervil.
2018 August White: 68% Folded Hills Grenache Blanc, 32% Area 51 Roussanne. White flowers, pears in light syrup, concrete, mild acidity. I loved the salmon – and had seconds – with this white Rhone.
Apple and Brie Flatbread: Granny Smith, picked red onion, triple crème brie, prosciutto, heirloom tomato velouté.
2018 Estate White Santa Ynez Valley: 50% Grenache Blanc, 25% Marsanne, 25% Clarette Blanche. Apple, peach, butter, toasted oak, crisp and clean mouthfeel, and my favorite white in the tasting. Loved the apple notes in the wine with the apples in the flatbread.
Mary’s Free-Range Chicken Wings: Thai passion fruit chili, petite frisee, Heirloom radish, cilantro.
2017 August Red: 67% Grenache, 33% Syrah. Very perfumy aromatics, velvety red fruit, black cherries, big and tannic – especially when compared to the other red wines. My fellow writers oohed and awed over the pairing; it was quite nice with the spices on the chicken.
Yellowfin Tuna: bubu arare, porcini crema, truffle ponzu, maitake.
2017 Cluster Grenache: Whole cluster Grenache, 100% Folded Hills. Cherry cola, green peppercorn and a nice easy drinker.
2017 Estate Grenache: 100% Folded Hills Grenache. Cherry liqueur, brambles, minty and dry.
2017 Grant Grenache: 92% Grenache, 8% Syrah. Raspberry, bright, oak and tannic.
All were really nice with the tuna, and as it was served cold it was a perfect picnic as we were outdoors on a cool day with low alcohol wines. These last two Grenache were my favorites of the reds.
Charred Te Mana Lamb: honey nut squash, baby kale, pine nut relish, au poivre.
Twice Fried Brussels Sprouts: Balsamic, parmigiano reggiano, togarashi, shaved bonito.
2017 Stolpman Syrah Ballard Canyon: 100% Stolpman Syrah. Strawberry, richly oaked, cola, tart.
2016 G.S.M.: 80% Folded Hills Vineyard, 20% Thompson Vineyard. 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre. Red berries, ash, long finish.
Both wines were very nice with the lamb and Brussels Sprouts, if I could have eaten more I would have!
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.