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March 9, 2021
This week we are very excited to feature the wines from Jolie-Laide -- translating loosely to “Pretty-Ugly,” a French term of endearment to describe something that is unconventionally beautiful.  

Winemaker Scott Schultz has created a cult following for his small Sonoma project. Now in its 4th vintage, these wines are sold out on the mailing list year in and out. 

Scott’s passion for wine was ignited when he moved to Napa from Chicago in 2007.  He began his transition into the winemaking world as Wine Director at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Napa Valley. As he explains, “Everyone I met was a winemaker, so on my days off I followed people around to see what they were doing." Before he knew it, he had secured the cellar master job at Realm Winery. That was followed by working with Arnot-Roberts, and then joining Pax Mahle in the same capacity working on the Pax and Wind Gap labels. Scott’s passion for winemaking grew so significantly that he decided to start his own project, to this day, he shares a winemaking space with Pax and several other like-minded producers in Sebastopol. 

The winemaking method is simple: grapes are left whole cluster, foot crushed, and aged in neutral oak. They work with a handful of growers, all of whom farm organically (none certified); it is their ability to seek out spectacular vineyard sites which allows them to be hands off in the winemaking process. As Scott says, “The do-nothing approach isn’t new by any means; it’s just funny how far many have gotten away from it.”

“We continue to adorn our bottles with the art that surrounds and inspires us. Because our wines are a celebration of the year and seasons in which they were made, always different and unique, no two bottlings are ever the same. We honor each distinctive vintage with new artwork; sometimes our own, our friends or collaborations with artists across oceans. In this current climate, it is crucially important to remind ourselves of the utter beauty and joy mother nature surrounds us in. This year we are thrilled to be able to collaborate with and feature the work of renowned abstract artist Claire Desjardin.”

Jolie-Laide Shake Ridge GSM 2017 $45

Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre …. (and a hint of Viognier for a little perfume).  The Shake Ridge vineyard Developed in 2003 in the Sierra Foothills is owned and farmed by the Legendary Ann Kramer. Vine blocks were planted to specific varieties based on different soil types, slope directions/characteristics, and microclimates. The 46-acre vineyard has grown in volume and reputation to become a high-quality supplier to 33 different wine brands and has a waiting list of both current and potential buyers. Grapes are combined and fermented whole cluster resulting in a very expressive combination. Complex characteristics of each grape shine, creating spicy, floral notes, with a slight salinity on the pallet.

Jolie-Laide Syrah Halcon Vineyard 2017 $45

Halcon is an extraordinary, rocky site at 2500 ft in the Yorkville Highlands. High elevation, cold coastal breezes, extreme low vigor soils and dense plantings converge to grow an enigmatic style of Syrah mostly unknown in California. Light on its feet, high-spirited, perfumed and spiced… full of all the things we adore about Syrah.

 Jolie-Laide Grenache Provisor Vineyard 2018 $40

Provisor Vineyard is a storybook site just outside the town of Healdsburg. The Provisors organically farm just 3 estate acres, and Jolie-Laide is lucky to be one of the few who gets to share in the fruits of their labors. Tablas Creek clone Grenache revels in the strikingly red gravely clay loam soils and warm days and cool nights of its Dry Creek home. The resulting wine is elegant and graceful; super fresh and bright.

Jolie-Laide Syrah North Coast 2018 $40

A blend of two Yorkville Highlands vineyard sites, the rugged high elevation Halcon Vineyard and the equally compelling Hawks Butte Vineyard (Made Famous by Wells Guthrie @ Copain Wines back in the early 2000’s). Hawks Butte is made up of rocky soils on a south facing slope and adds slightly more density and fruit while still wildly fresh with supple tannin. The Halcon compliments the wine with brooding structure.  This is the first vintage experimenting with 100% Syrah.  Grapes are left on stems, crushed by foot and fermented with very light punch downs. The wine is indicative of the earthy region, dense yet fruity with a large expression of light wood and wet earth.

Jolie-Laide Pinot Gris 2018 $32

To round out this offering we have a small selection of the 2018 Pinot Gris. 

This is home to mostly old vine Cabernet, but Pinot Gris was chosen almost as a sort of frost protection. The Pinot Gris thrives here in its mini micro-climate near a meandering brook in its gravelly, clay loam soils.

“The whole is greater than the sum” kind of wine. In 2018, Scott worked with small lots from three different sites, Windsor Oaks, Glen Oaks and Rorick Heritage, all of which were uniquely idiosyncratic all their own, but put together unwound a complex, layered and delicious combination of flavors.

Picked early to preserve acidity and crushed by foot for a 3-day whole cluster cold soak which adds texture while lending a beautiful rosé Champagne-like color.  Wildly perfumed of melon, stone fruit, and kaffir lime leaf.  This is not your grandma’s Pinot Grigio….

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