You might call them the entrepreneurs of the wine industry because they take their own initiative and risk to create their wine. They are the Garagistes who are the cutting edge of the wine business today. To many, it is a hobby, a deep passionate love of wine, and for others, it is their second business. It is their creations that set the standards for tomorrow’s winemakers.
Celebrating small winemakers, The Garagiste Festival comes to Los Angeles for its second annual wine tasting event. Many Garagistes who attended Solvang’s Southern Exposure last March will be participants at the upcoming Garagiste Festival Urban Exposure.
One winery participating in the July Garagiste Festival Urban Exposure, Archium recently presented their wines at a luncheon at the Hotel Angeleno for the LA Wine Writers. It is interesting to see how owners, Zach Jarosz and Ian Sergy, have grown over the years since they founded the winery in 2011.
Today they create a more European style of Rhone varietals with a concentration on making Syrah, Grenache, Rosé, and a red blend from grapes grown in Santa Barbara County. Both came from a background in the entertainment industry. Zach and Ian started growing grapes, 140 plus vines in Zach’s yard. Archium Club members each year sample a wine, known as Blair Bluff, that is produced from those Ventura County backyard grapes.
The name Archium was chosen because it means archive in Latin. “We look at each year of our viticulture and winemaking that goes by as an “archive” of our best efforts that we can be proud of,” says Zach Jarosz. Like making a film both Zach and Ian are documenting an adventure into the Rhone varietals. Even Archium’s label follows the theme of their journey.
Starting with the Dissident, which symbolizes, “one who challenges a belief system, set of laws or established doctrine, to along the path taken rules are questioned in hopes that we may discover and create our own…” You might call it the fork in the road during your journey. The 2013 Dissident is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvédre does just that with its earthiness and bright spice. Zach says, “The wine has funk.”
“Faction: a group of people connected by a shared belief or opinion.” “This is where our story begins…” It is the journey of sharing a bottle of Archium’s wine and, in the case of the 2013 Faction, which is a marvelous Syrah. Haven, “a place of refuge or rest; a sanctuary: The traveler is weary, The road, no end in sight, In the distance lies shelter, A haven from the night.” Haven is the telling of the story, and the 2013 a 100% Grenache is the story of Zach and Ian’s experimentation. It is light and “drinks like a Pinot,” says Zach.
The grapes come from Stolpman Vineyards; there is a softness to the wine that comes from concrete aging. By including 20% stem inclusion in the fermentation, the wood acts like a barrel softening the qualities and giving the wine its toasty and vanilla flavors. This Grenache is smokier with stewed fruit, mainly plum.
Finally, the 2014 Rosé is a wine all to its self. For Zach and Ian, a Rosé should be a lighter wine with Alcohol on the lower side, 13%, and a higher PH. The grapes came from Watch Hill Vineyard in Los Alamos and picked early. The wine is crisp and bright with a nice acidity, and a tartness that comes from citrus fruit yet displays a sweetness that in tangerines. I found a bright Provence styled Rosé using Grenache.
Archium at Hotel Angeleno’s West Restaurant
The Archium wines seemed even better with the pairing of cuisine selected by Chef Laura Scollan of the Hotel Angeleno’s West Restaurant. The tasty Moroccan Spiced Pork Quinoa and the Lamb Spiedi were especially perfect matches for the Dissident and the Faction.
Reminiscing on the Solvang Southern Exposure Garagiste Festival of last March, these wineries stood out:
Pat Ferguson and his daughter Fergie, whom many know as the lead singer from the Black Eyed Peas, founded Ferguson Crest in 2006. This father-daughter relationship, filled with love, and passion adds a special ingredient. It comes forth in their grapes, which grow organically and sustainably in Santa Barbara County and in the wine produced. Together with winemaker Joey Tensley, they make some outstanding wines, especially the Syrah and the Syrah blend. The later, 2011 “Fergalicious” Red Blend combines Syrah, Merlot, Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignon into a wonderfully balanced, rich, velvety, and very drinkable wine.
Maidenstoen Wine shared their first vintage at this festival. As newbies, they have perfected some outstanding Rieslings. The 2013 Riesling, Zabala Vineyard shows off the windy terroir of the Arroyo Seco with gravelly and sandy loam soils. The 2013 Coast View Vineyard Riesling was bright light and crisp.
Scott Cellars is one of a select few wineries that specialize primarily in Sangiovese. All four Sangioveses presented were excellent. The wines each represented the 2012 vintage, but each a different vineyard, exemplifying the effects various soils have on a varietal. From the Sand Dune, White Hawk Vineyard where sand exhibits bright aromatics. The West Slope Three Creeks Vineyard in Happy Canyon brings out the dark jammy qualities. The Reserve Sangiovese, which combines White Hawk Vineyards with Stolpman. Finally, the Cuvee JP that blends Sangiovese with Syrah.
There are some great participants at the upcoming Garagiste Festival Urban Exposure that you don’t want to miss. They include Alma Sol, Alta Colina, Artisan Uprising, Ascension Cellars, Caliza, Carucci, Imagine Wine, Kessler-Haak, Larner, Levo, Maidenstoen Wine, MCV, Nagy, Tercero, The Central Coast Project, The Farm, and Weatherborne. Each festival features new wineries to discover. Urban Exposure 2015 is no different, with over half the wineries pouring for the first time. One can look forward to twelve vintners from Napa, Sonoma, Monterey, and Anderson Valley. With eight wineries pouring their first vintage, one can expect a wide selection of wines from over 50 wineries.
Garagiste Festival Urban Exposure
The Garagiste Festival Urban Exposure also now features Rare and Reserve Wines. The participating wineries offer both library or reserve wines as well as pre-released wine or barrel tastings.
While The Garagiste Festival allows wine lovers exposure to wines, winemakers, and wineries that might not usually appear on our radar, it also gives the wineries added exposure, thus a win-win situation for both producer and consumer.
You also can explore the new age of wine and find those wineries that struck your cord by attending the Garagiste Festival Urban Exposure.