Today I return to another bottling from Jolie-Laide, a boutique winery established by Scott Schultz in Forestville, CA that I have written about several times already. If you missed my prior posts, my review of the 2016 Provisor Vineyard Grenache linked here contains the most in-depth background on Jolie-Laide and Scott, and I encourage you to check it out. If you would like to read my reviews for the 2019 Trousseau Gris and 2016 Halcon Vineyard Syrah to augment your knowledge of the portfolio, they are linked here and here, respectively.
Today’s Wine: 2017 Shake Ridge Vineyard GSM
Blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Viognier (no tech sheet); 13% ABV
The 2017 Shake Ridge GSM is mostly opaque medium purple/ruby in color with pale purple variation at the rim. Once this opens up, the nose showcases aromas of blackberry, blueberry, anise, violet, slight barnyard, stemmy underbrush, and granite. On the palate, the wine displays notes of plum, brambleberry, tart wild blueberry, lavender, tobacco, gravel, herbs, black pepper, and mild spice. This is light- to medium-bodied with high acidity, fine-grained medium (+) tannins, and a long finish.
Price: $38. I think this is a good value GSM blend, and while it comes across slightly bigger than other Jolie-Laide wines I’ve enjoyed the same quality and focus on an honest wine is still starkly apparent. Pair this with venison steak, grilled lamb, or charcuterie.
Jolie-Laide is a boutique winery established by Scott Schultz in Forestville, CA, though he sources his fruit from trusted vintners across a range of appellations. “Jolie-Laide” translates to “pretty ugly,” and is a French term of endearment for something not conventionally beautiful which in this case stems to lesser known or “unloved” grape varieties Scott works with. I reviewed two wines from Jolie-Laide previously, first the 2016 Provisor Vineyard Grenache in A Journey for the Mind and Palate and most recently the 2019 Trousseau Gris in Incredibly Versatile Trousseau Gris. For a more detailed overview at how Scott makes his wines or where he sources his fruit from, you can check out these prior posts if you haven’t already.
Today’s Wine: 2016 Halcon Vineyard Syrah
100% Syrah; 12.8% ABV
The 2016 Halcon Vineyard Syrah is opaque medium purple in color with ruby hues. Given an hour and a half or so to open up, the wine showcases a nose of blackberry, plum, black cherry, smoked charcuterie, tobacco, charred earth, green herbs, black peppercorn, and crushed rock minerality. On the palate, I get notes of brambleberry, blueberry, boysenberry, black raspberry, licorice, sweet tobacco leaf, red florals, dried rocky soil, graphite, savory mixed herbs, and a hint of oaky spice. This is full-bodied with medium acidity, high tannins, and a long finish dominated by chewy red and black fruits.
Price: $44. Another outstanding value from Jolie-Laide, and my favorite wine I’ve tried from them so far. This has everything you could want from a Cali Syrah twice its price: depth, evolving complexity each hour it breathes, finesse, and character. Pair with herb-grilled lamb, spicy Korean-style pork, or a quality burger.
Jolie-Laide is a small, boutique winery established by Scott Schultz in Forestville, California, though he sources his fruit from various California winegrowing regions and appellations. I previously wrote about Jolie-Laide’s history and reviewed their 2016 Provisor Vineyard Grenache in A Journey for the Mind and Palate, and I highly encourage you to read this post if you haven’t already. For now, let’s get onto the tasting notes of today’s remarkably fun wine.
Today’s Wine: 2019 Trousseau Gris
100% Trousseau Gris; 12.4% ABV
The 2019 Trousseau Gris is transparent peach/salmon in color. The nose showcases aromas of tangerine, melon, stone fruit, white florals, cream, white peppery spice, and saline mineral. On the palate, I get notes of white peach, nectarine, melon, pink rose, honeysuckle, white tea leaf, and crushed stone minerality. This is medium-bodied with crisp medium (+) acidity and plush mouthfeel into a fully rounded and long finish.
Price: $30 direct from winery. This is a great value for several major reasons. Its quality and precision are impeccable, it is very fun (drinks like a cross between a rosé and white wine), and the versatility is profound. Pair this with lobster, herb-grilled chicken, or a turkey sandwich.
Established by Scott Schultz, Jolie-Laide is a small, boutique winery crafting wines in Forestville, California. Jolie-Laide is a French term of endearment for something unconventionally beautiful that translates to “pretty-ugly,” and Scott decided to use it in naming his winery following experiences in the restaurant business. When he worked at Bouchon in Yountville, Scott realized that the majority of people didn’t seem to explore the wine list but rather stick to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or Cabernet Sauvignon. He thought this was a travesty of sorts, given the wonderful varieties including Gamay, Valdiguié, Vermentino, or Trousseau Gris. Eventually Scott transitioned out of the restaurant business and found himself working alongside Pax Mahle, a wildly skilled winemaker in his own right. One year, Pax allowed Scott to make a wine of his own using 1-2 tons of fruit and he decided to use none other than Trousseau Gris because of how fascinating of a variety it is to him. Alas, Jolie-Laide was born and continues to produce magnificent and wildly fun wines today.
When it comes to sourcing his fruit, Scott works with farmers he has known for years who largely follow organic practices and work incredibly unique sites. After harvest, all of the Jolie-Laide red fruit is foot crushed and left whole cluster with some of the varieties (like Gamay) seeing carbonic maceration. Thanks to Scott’s selection of incredible sites, he can be pretty hands-off during the rest of the winemaking process and let the terroir and fruit speak for itself. Jolie-Laide lets their wines ferment naturally and, instead of using temperature control, says “we stick things in the sun if we need to get them warm” (source). Furthermore, Scott adds little SO2 when necessary in part because his wines tend to be bottled young to both preserve freshness in the fruit and provide barrels for the following year’s harvest.
Today’s Wine: 2016 Provisor Vineyard Grenache
100% Grenache; 12.8% ABV
The 2016 Provisor Vineyard Grenache is pale ruby/garnet in color and moderately transparent. I drank this over 4.5 hours (don’t ask me how I restrained myself) and it is remarkable how drastically this picked up weight over time. The nose showcases aromas of candied strawberry, juicy raspberry, black cherry, red licorice, sweet tobacco, granite, oregano, and cinnamon. Once on the palate, the wine displays notes of muddled strawberry, tart red raspberry, candied plum, anise, tobacco, dark leather, crushed rock, green herbs, and peppery spice. This is medium- to full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) tannins, and a long finish. While this started off thin and falling off by mid-palate, my patience was handsomely, handsomely rewarded.
Price: $38. Buy it. All I can say is if you can find this bottle close to the price, it is supremely worth the adventure. If you do though, and haven’t taken heed of my commentary above, I implore you once again to give this air. Pair with braised pork, wild boar, or smoked charcuterie.