Affordable & Esoteric California Wines

This weekend was a busy one for the ladies of Winelandia. We had a packed agenda for Saturday – the Wind Gap Open House (in their new winery!) and the 7% Solution tasting in Healdsburg. Sunday we had reservations at Manresa in Los Gatos. Colleen brought a friend – Miss Naomi – the mastermind behind the Seattle food blog The Gastro Gnome. Two wine bloggers, one food blogger, perfect weather and a Fiat 500 convertible equals the best of times.

Colleen_Gnome(Naomi of The Gastro Gnome & Colleen of Winelandia)

The Wind Gap open house is one of the finest in all of Winelandia. They pour a plethora of wines and serve the finest foods you could imagine. We first tasted through Pax Mahle’s second label called Lucques – lovely and affordable wines that are thought-provoking and ready to drink now. They are priced from $18-$24, which is a steal for such lovely and interesting wines. We hope to add these wines to our line-up once our ABC applications are approved.


We started on the Wind Gap Trousseau Gris ($24), Lucques Blanc ($22), Lucques Rosé ($18) and then wandered inside to taste the rest of Wind Gap’s wonderful creations. There were a variety of Chardonnays (Yuen, Brousseau & James Berry Vineyard), then moved on to the Grenache, Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir, Mourvedre & Sonoma Coast Syrah. My favorites were the Trousseau Gris, Lucques Blanc, Grenache & Mourvedre. Colleen loved the Brousseau Vineyard Chardonnay, which I also love. Maybe Wind Gap doesn’t make wines we don’t like? Totally possible.


One of my favorite things about this open house is the food that they serve to highlight the wines. We had blue point & kumamoto oysters, a QUARTER-WHEEL of Fiscalini Cheddar (maybe we were in heaven?), a variety of Charcuterie and grilled Sausages.

WG_CheeseAfter the Wind Gap open house, we headed off to Healdsburg for the 7% Solution tasting. This is a first-time event which showcases wineries that produce wines from obscure varietals. The name is called 7% because 93% of California’s vineyards are planted with money-maker grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay & Pinot Noir. This event was a homage to the less-planted and appreciated red-headed stepchild grapes such as Trousseau Gris, Vermentino, Mourvedré, Pinot Gris and a bunch of others that are too hard to recall because they are just THAT crazy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe were pleased to run into Scott Schultz, the winemaker for Jolie-Laide. He makes just a few wines and we got to try two of them at this tasting. There was a direct-to-press Pinot Gris which was bright, fresh and fun to drink. His other wine was a skin-fermented Trousseau Gris ($24). If you see this wine in a store or on a restaurant wine list, do NOT hesitate to buy it! It’s so great! I didn’t catch the vintage (I would guess it was a 2011?) because I was so distracted by the babes on his labels. Hubba Hubba!!!

All in all, it was a great day. It was really fun to try so many new wines by so many up-and-coming producers. I am especially excited about the fact that a lot of these esoteric wines are so inexpensive. I hope that we can showcase these wines on Winelandia once our store-front is set up. Keep an eye out for more of these great wines in future posts.