2019 Jolie-Laide Wines, Trousseau/Poulsard/Gamay/Valdiguie, California.
Jolie-Laide Wines and winemaker Scott Schultz, who has been an assistant winemaker at Pax Wines, is now a fully established star in California and his wines are part of the new generation’s re-inventing of the state’s wine and his latest set of limited production efforts are wonderful drinking wines, with some being absolutely outstanding, like his Halcon Vineyard Syrah, the solo Gamay Noir, his Shake Ridge GSM, and this lighter quaffable bright glow-glow style red. This unique fresh and low alcohol red blend, inspired by the Alpine French region of the Jura, but with a California twist was fermented partially carbonic for brightness and all whole cluster adding to the complex spice aromas and bright fruits which Scott Schultz made from Trousseau, Poulsard, Gamay and old vine Valdiguie reminds me of Julien Labet’s Jura “Metis” a blend of Trousseau, Poulsard and Pinot Noir, one of my favorites of the region or Ganevat’s Côtes du Jura “Julien en Billat—L’Enfant Terrible du Sud”. Likely, according to Schultz, this is most “Outré Vin” or unique in the lineup at Jolie-Laide, and what he calls a vinous Californian pastiche inspired by his reverence of the wines of the French Alps, both in the Jura and Savoie regions. Just a tiny amount of these varieties are planted in California, as Schultz notes, but Jolie-Laide is hoping to be a part of the movement that will shift that paradigm and bring these grapes into the fold and embraced by more growers and wines like this make a compelling case. A few years back I had Scott’s version of Halcon Syrah and I became hooked on his wines such was the soulful rendition in the glass and this Trousseau, Poulsard, Gamay and Valdiguie 2019 is another tasty treat.

The Jolie-Laide Trousseau, Poulsard, Gamay and Valdiguie was aged only about 6 months in well season barrels this wine was bottled early to capture its freshness and purity with almost no sulfur added, making for what the French and natural wine enthusiasts call, as mentioned, a Glou-Glou wine or as we might say, it’s an easy quaffer with a certain tangy/zesty quality. This is delightful stuff with spicy raspberry, sour cherry, wild plum and cranberry fruits and mineral crunchiness as well as delicate floral tones, anise and snappy herbs in a light to medium bodied wine that benefits from a slight chill, much like the wines that inspired it. Schultz has created a gem here, at only 12.3% natural alcohol it still has pleasing ripe flavors to go with the vibrant acidity, it will be a fun Summer red to enjoy in its youth. The new wave of country style, less oaky wines is here to stay and have carved out a serious niche with California producers like Jolie-Laide leading the way, along with the likes of Martha Stoumen, Jaimee Motley, Ryme Cellars, Sheldon Wines, Ian Brand, Dirty & Rowdy, Arnot-Roberts, the first winery to put California Trousseau on the map, and others. Schultz, a Chicago native, moved to California in 2007 and worked for Thomas Keller, running the wine program at Keller’s Bouchon Bistro in Yountville before moving on to winemaking joining Arnot-Roberts, after which a stint at Ryme Cellars then on to Pax Wines under Pax Mahle. All the while Schulz became focused on natural and transparent style wines influenced by old world regions, but exploiting the wealth of the California climate and soils. Be sure to check out the latest Joile-Laide offerings, they are sure to impress, like this one does.
($30 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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