2019 Jolie-Laide, Gamay Noir, Barsotti Vineyard, El Dorado County, Sierra Foothills.
The bright ruby garnet 2019 Barsotti Gamay by Jolie-Laide is showing fabulously right now, it is a super California expression of true Gamay Noir that reminds me somewhat of Domaine de la Roilette Fleurie, which I just had recently with a nice earthy character and granite influenced mineral notes, along with a fine wild flower aromatic quality. When open, this lighter medium bodied Gamay has good acidity and a spicy pop adding some shaved cinnamon, a hint of dried herbs, pepper and burnt orange to a core of juicy strawberry, plum, cherry and red currant fruits. A touch of forest floor, subtle wood and anise fill out the flavors and there’s a delicate sense of tannin, but everything is pretty seamless and makes for an easy to love version of this grape and it pairs well with a wide range of cuisine choices, as well as being perfectly enjoyable all on its own. The Sierra Foothills, interestingly was one of the first places planted to true Gamay and this Barsotti Ranch vineyard is situated East and a bit North of Placerville, at just under 3,000 feet in elevation and set on classic decomposed granite soils, all of which gives the wine a Beaujolais like personality, but with California’s sunny ripeness. One of California’s best young winemakers, Scott Schultz, who cut his teeth with Ryme Cellars, Pax Wines and Arnot-Roberts, has a stellar collection of small lot wines sourced from sustainable vineyards throughout California and now made in his own purpose built winery near Sebastopol in Sonoma County.

Winemaker Scott Schultz says for his Gamay wines that the grape clusters are left whole as fermentation is started by carbonic maceration then crushed by foot where it finishes whole cluster for skin contact and extraction. The aim, he says, here is to ballast the fruity high tone aromatics of carbonic maceration with the intensity and structure of whole cluster fermentation, that results a wine that is light and fresh but with an underlying seriousness and complexity, which in this case works extremely well in my opinion. The post fermentation wine was then pressed to neutral barrique(s) for a 6 month élevage and bottled young to preserve freshness and delicate aromatics, also allowing for purity of flavors and transparency. While made to be enjoyed young and crunchy, this 2019 is still beautiful and has developed an extra degree of complexity and nice secondary elements, as described above, this is a brilliant wine that should keep going for another 3 to 5 years, though there’s no reason to wait. Sierra Foothills Gamay is capable of serious stuff and has been a favorite for years, especially as seen in Gamay Pioneer Edmunds St. John winery’s delicious Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir, which also comes from this Barsotti Ranch Vineyard, and in more modern times by Arnot-Roberts, another wine I reviewed not so long ago. As mentioned here, the Jolie-Laide label is Scott Schultz’s almost one-man operation based in a Sebastopol, as noted here, has gained a reputation for well made and geeky cool wines in recent years, his Syrah wines being nothing but exceptional, crafted using old school traditional methods. The Jolie-Laide wines are truly authentic efforts and they offer loads of class, value and distinction, I highly recommend them.
($36 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

By admin