If you know and love wine, you know that a lot of the wine culture is inextricably tied up in a huge amount of tradition, old names, old world reputations and estates and old (but time-tested) methods and techniques for making predictable, classic products that people have come to appreciate sometimes over many centuries.
There are rituals to be followed, traditions to be observed and passed on, conventions that are assiduously maintained. Anyone familiar with any area with a wine culture and industry will know exactly what I’m talking about.
We clear on that? Good! Now throw it all out the window, because the world of wine that most people never hear of (but must surely suspect exists) is about to be thrown wide open this weekend in Paso Robles to blow your wine-loving mind sky-high. The Garagiste Festival is in town, and a wine underground that you may only have heard hints of will be on full display.
So, then: What is a garagiste? I’m glad you asked! Straight from the horse’s mouth:
GARAGISTES – (garage-east) n, Fr. – A term originally used in the Bordeaux region of France to denigrate renegade small-lot wine makers, sometimes working in their garage, who refused to follow the “rules.” Now a full-fledged movement responsible for making some of the best wine in the world. Who’s laughing now, Francois? Syn: Rule-breakers, pioneers, renegades, mavericks, driven by passion.
This, my friends, is where all those mavericks, all the free thinkers and DIYers who either don’t, won’t or can’t fit into those same traditions I mentioned let loose. Yes, there are literally thousands of people, all over the world, who know exactly what they’re doing, they know the grapes, the know the techniques, they know the history and they take what they want from it for their own creative visions and leave behind what doesn’t square with that.
So, I can hear you asking yourself: “OK, they do things their own way. Won’t that come out, well, odd? Funky?”
In a word: NO! I’ve sampled a few myself and although I was skeptical at first, I have had wine from these producers that utterly floored me; better, in fact, that many of the big players who are forced, either by management or financial concerns, to keep doing things the same way, every time, to get cases out the doors. The Garagistes are small time in production, but BIG time in creativity, attention to detail and in love for the passion they’re pursuing.
Surprise yourself. Get out there. If you love wine, I guarantee you you’ll love what you find here.
Over 60 wineries, most of whom you’ve never heard of.
Over 200 wines (easily).
Up close and personal with the people who make them. And they want to talk to you!
Absolutely no pretense, attitude, ascots, smoking jackets or noses held high. This is wine by experts with no time for attitude.
Oh, and as an extra added super bonus: cheese and charcutertie will be provided by the amazing folks at Vivant Fine Cheese. They get things right in about 1000 ways and will make the wine all the better with profound knowledge of what goes well with what.
This is wine culture and wine on the cutting edge, and an entirely new and vibrant universe for the taking.
See you in Paso Robles this weekend!