The Wandering Wino Blog

Gargariste Wine Panel

The Garagiste Festival is one of those great wine events where visitors can discover numerous super small brands. In some cases these winemakers only produce a few barrels of wine. It is also worth mentioning that many of these wines are not found in a tasting room, or store shelves due to such low production.

Bob Tillman Eric Mohensi Larry Schaffer

The Saturday seminar in Solvang (Santa Ynez Valley) kicked off with a much lessor known varietal, Mourvedre. The panelist included (left) Bob Tillman from Alta Colina in Paso Robles, Eric Mohseni (middle) from the long time famed Zaca Mesa of Santa Barbara County, and Mr Rhone, (far right) Larry Schaffer from Tercero in Santa Barbara County.  

The grand tasting opened following the seminar and that's where a room of discovery began. This is not a "top 10" list, and certainly wouldn't be fair to the vast number of wines I did not taste. In fact, some will notice I couldn't stop at 10 wines.

Wine Glass Swirl

These are simply wines that got me excited, and highly worthy of buying before they sell out, and trust me, they will.

Tercero Larner Grenache

2011 Tercero Granache (Larner Vineyard) - When you bring together a great winemaker like Larry Schaffer of Tercero, and a stellar vineyard like Larner in Ballard Canyon, it is bound to be exciting. This is one of those wines you really don't want to tell people about because you know this will be gone, gone, gone, and soon. Yes, it is that good!

Tercero Albarino

2014 Tercero Albarino - Such life and a wine that just dances in your mounth. Incredably refreshing. This could be your apperitif wine, the standing in front of the BBQ summer wine that would have your guests talking!

Tercero Sign

It would be easy to incert the Tercero line-up with a select few other producers, but there is another Tercero with special distinction I'll share in a bit. 

2013 Stirm Riesling (Kick On Ranch) - The Stirm brand would certainly be on the discussion list for most exciting discovery. Stirm produces less than 250 cases of Riesling and to date, no other variatals. Minimalistic approach with a true expression of the vineyard and varietally correct. I wanted to sit in a quiet room with this bottle. 

Archium Rose

2014 Archium Rose - Good friends and business partners Ian Sergy and Zach Jarosz are about as real as the term "Garagiste" gets. These two guys have actully made wine in a garage next to a beautiful 1966 Corvette. This Rose will keep your summer on track, and refreshed. 

Diablo Paso Albarino

2014 Diablo Paso Albarino - I tasted their entire line up and it would have been easy to discuss their Tempranillo as well. Beautiful wines! 

Curruci Grenache

2013 Carucci Grenache (Murmur Vineyards)- the real deal! Santa Maria Valley grows very little Grenache, but when it's done right, it's done right!

Carucci Syrah

Wine to Introduce to Your Wine Geek Freinds:

2013 Carucci Syrah Duvarita Vineyard - these guys clearly are starting with the best fruit they can get their hands on, and doing a stellar job! 


Kessler-Hawk Chardonnay

2013 Kessler- Haak Chardonnay Sta Rita Hills - often a varietal with a personal prefernce. I believe many will appreciate this beautiful offering from Kessler-Haak. 

Larner Malvasia

Desert Island Wine:

2014 Larner Malvasia (Larner Vineyard) Ballard Canyon - this wine among a few others on this list aren't new discoveries for me, but some I wouldn't leave without tasting agiain. The Larner Malvasia is in fact one I went after with intent to taste something I really appreciate.

Larner Syrah

2011 Larner Syrah (Larner Vineyard) Ballard Canyon - the right grape in the right region done very nicely. 

Matela Teroldego

2010 Bevela Matela Teroldego Le Bon Climat Vineyard (Santa Maria Valley)- Holy Cow Batman! Wow! Wow! Go get some! 

Old Fashion Superstition Syrah

The Most Exciting Wine:

2013 Bevela Wines  Old Fashioned Superstition Syrah (Tierra Alta Vineyard) Ballard Canyon - One of the most exciting bottles of wine I have had. My guess is all the industry insiders will get this for themselves....I will! 



Ryan Cochran Pinot Noir

Most Memorable Wine:

2013 Ryan Cochrane Pinot Noir Solomon Hills Vineyard - this is my 100 point wine. This is the wine I want to go on vacation with. I thought about this wine for hours after leaving it, and I hope to see it again. 

Tercero Wine

Most Interesting/Fun Wine: (in a very good way)

2015 Tercero Aberration (40% Grenache 40% Cinsault 20% Mourvedre) - done in stainless and served slightly chilled got me excited! So many fun settings to imagine serving this wine.

The next time you have an opportunity to discover wines from the Garagiste, get out your Indiana Jones hat and get in there! >>>>Save July 9th for the LA Event<<<<