Garagiste festival co-founders Stewart McLennan and Doug Minnick (locals know Doug from his shared wine tasting room in Downtown Newhall, Double Trouble) as well as countless experienced volunteers, succeeded once again to bring nearly 50 small producing wineries under one roof – Santa Monica Bay Women’s Club – to be discovered by wine lovers.
Urban Exposure features artisan winemakers from across California, including Paso Robles, Santa Barbara County, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, Los Angeles County and more. The Garagiste Festival is Los Angeles’ only wine festival that exclusively features high quality wines from commercial California ‘garagiste’ winemakers, offering Angelenos a unique opportunity to discover hard-to-find wineries, taste hundreds of their wines, and meet the winemakers…Over 70% of the wineries pouring at the festival do not have tasting rooms, and most are not on “wine country” maps and difficult to find except at the Garagiste Festival.
Pretty sure I’ve covered every Garagiste event that has been produced in Los Angeles for the past five years, as well as a couple in Paso Robles. I look forward to trying the new vintages from wineries we’ve discovered before, and wines from new wineries added to the event. This year I tried to taste as many Rare and Reserve offerings as I could as well, before palate fatigue set in.
Wineries Tastes (I have only noted the wines I enjoyed – keep in mind I did not try every wine that was offered at every winery table.)
Bellante Family Winery: 2016 Viognier, Los Olivos, Camp 4 Vineyard, and 14.9% alcohol.
Betwixt Wines: 2012 Grenache, Boer Vineyard, Sonoma (sold out) and 2010 Syrah.
Byron Blatty: Mark’s brand new Rose of Grenache, LA County, $27 and 2016 Tremor blend of Grenache, Syrah and Merlot, LA County, $58.
Caliza Vineyards: 2013 Estate Grenache, Paso Robles, only 50 cases made, $75
Cutruzzola Vineyards: 2012 Riesling, Riven Rock Vineyard Estate, San Luis Obispo County, 12.5% alcohol, 450 cases, $28 and the 2015 Riesling with 128 cases and $30.
Dusty Nabor: “K” Super Secret Syrah, Ballard Canyon, 27 cases, $45 and 2016 Super Secret Grenache, Ballard Canyon, 27 cases, $45.
Frisco Cellars: 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Coast, Yattes and DiPietro Vineyards, $56.
Gordenker Wines: 2012 Sylvia Drive Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, $68. (Parker gave this wine 93 points.)
Hoi Polloi: Everything: Pinot Noirs and Syrah! Love Minnick and happy to support local business!
Kaleidos Wines: 2014 Praying Mantis, 100% Syrah, Paso Robles, 88 cases, 15.6% alcohol, $65.
Leverage: 2014 Trajectory, GSM, Paso Robles, 85 cases, $60.
Parmeson: 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, 149 cases, $60.
Pulchella Winery: My all-time favorite local winery was serving up their Rose of Tannat, “Rogue Rose of Tannat”, Bella Colina Vineyards, 120 cases, $35 as well as six 2016 releases.
Record Family Wines: 2013 Reserve Merlot, Paso Robles, 100 cases, $35.
Siela Wines: 2015 Chardonnay Dry Creek Valley. (SF Chronicle Wine Competition gave this a Silver in 2017, I would’ve given it a Gold.)
TW Fermentations: 2014 “Cultivator” Bordeaux Blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Paso Robles, 14.7% alcohol, $68 and a Malbec with 14.9% alcohol.
Vinemark Cellars: All 2014s: Reserve Pinot, $41; Cabernet Sauvignon, $32; “Mezzanotte” Primitivo/Petite Sirah blend, $32.
Volatus Wine: 2015 White Rhone Blend, $25; 2016 Bolter Rose blend of Tannat, Grenache and Viognier, $14; and Reserve Red blend of Syrah and Malbec, Paso Robles, 65 cases, $45.
Alma Sol+, Ann Albert, Ascension Cellars+, Bellante Family Winery+*, Betwixt Wines, Brophy Clark, Byron Blatty+, Caliza Vineyards, Cavelletti Vineyards, Cloak & Dagger+, Cutruzzola Vineyards, Domaine Kreger, El Lugar Wines, Frisco Cellars*, Golden Triangle, Gordenker Wines, Hoi Polloi+, In Vino Musicas+*, Kaleidos Wines, Kitson Wines*, LA Wine Project+, Lavender Oak Ranch+*, Magna Vita Cellars, Malibu Ridge+*, Marin’s Vineyard, Mastro Scheidt, Metrick Wines+, Monochrome Wines, Murder Ridge, On Your Left, Pulchella Winery+, Record Family Wines*, Siela Wines*, Stolo Family Winery, Sweezter Cellars+, Sycamore Ranch+, The Blending Lab+*, Tlo Winery, Torch Wines, TW Fermentations, Vinemark Cellars+, Volatus Wine, Wildwood Oak Winery* (*First time pouring at the festival, +Based in LA County)
Festival Sponsors: ETS, Glenn Burdette,, Farm Credit, Laffort, Digital Dogma, mWEBB Communications, Travel Paso, Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. For sponsorship info, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep track of where the next Garagiste festival will be offered here: http://garagistefestival.com
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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 15k 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.