California Bottles of Wine by Sans Liege
Rhone Style Blending on the Central Coast
A bottle of wine is comprised of earth, plant, weather and the winemaker’s knowledge and palate. In California there are myriads of variations of each giving us a bounty of wine. It’s what we call, ‘The Golden Age of California Wine.’
Tucked into the Central Coast near Edna Valley’s appelation, one of these winemakers is creating Rhone style wine blended from the noble grapes of France. Grapes like Grenache, Syrah, Rousanne, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and Mourvedre provide the juice required to satiate this palate.
Sans Liege winemaker Curt Schalchlin follows the old world heritage of France’s Rhone Valley while celebrating the freedom of California’s New World Wines by blending wines with attributes of both styles.
His tasting room is a store front in Pismo Beach. While urban wine tasting is not our favorite place to sample wines, we realize these store fronts and industrial campus ‘ghettos’ are the incubators of a new generation of winemakers.
Large ‘ediface’ or ‘castle’ wineries as we like to call them are risky and capital intensive. There’s an old joke in California, ‘How do you make a small fortune in winemaking? Start with a large fortune.’
*AVA: California Coast
*Incubator store front
*Urban Tasting room
*Fruit forward wine
*Rhone style blends
*Price point $$
*Did we purchase: The Offering & Fool’s Errand
Incubator store front and industrial campuses like Lompoc’s Wine Ghetto and Los Alamos & Los Alivos’ high density downtown wine tasting zone provide younger, passionate winemakers opportunity to prove their vision and expose their cultivations to consumers at low cost. It’s an inexpensive way to explore the market with your wine. And, along the way, these winemakers are exposing bottles of wine to Gen X and Gen Y, seeking out new markets and fueling the ‘Vine Colonization of California.’
Schalchin is one of these new breed winemakers.
What did we taste? Here goes:
2013 Cotes du Coast White Rhone style blend (Viognier, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc & Marsanne) $26 ✰
2013 Fool’s Errand – Grenache (decant 2 hours) $29 ✰+/✰++
2013 Long Way Home – Syrah (decant 3 hours) $29 ✰
2013 Take the Pebble – Mourvedre (decant 2 hours) ✰
2012 The Offering (GSM with Viognier) ✰+/✰
NV Transcendentalist (Syrah, Grenache & Mourvedre) (decant 3-4 hours) $29 ✰+/✰
His wines are created to aerate and are fruitful and rich. He advocates aerating his wine (complete removal and replacement) from the bottle three hours prior to savoring. None of the tasting room bottles were aerated with pourers, the were simply evacuated from the bottle.
One of the wine guides gave us her ‘convenience’ version of aerating: pulling the cork from the bottle in the morning, replacing the cork immediately and enjoying her wine in the evening. We’ll try both, as well as using Hailey’s Corker to see what works best, what suits our palates.
You’ll find the tasting room on 870 Price St. in downtown Pismo Beach. While exploring the Edna Valley appelation, you owe it to yourself to visit and explore a different side of California wine.
Bill Hodge & Erin O’Neill-Hodge enjoy a good bottle of wine, visiting and enjoying California wineries from Lake County to Orange County, from the Paso Robles Gold Coast to Gold Country and from Lodi to Temecula.
Some notes on our wine ranking system.
– -✰ means -What’s next on your list of wines
-✰ means -Not liking it too much
✰ means -We’ll drink this wine, especially if it’s hosted!
✰+ means -You’ve got our attention and we might buy this wine.
✰++ means -We’re hooked and we’re going to buy this wine.
When you see -✰/✰+ with a slash, it signifies our opinion differs.
$ Value Laden
$$ Well priced wine
$$$ Better be great!
$$$$ Expensive, better be wonderful!