Wine of the Week: Jolie-Laide 2013 Trousseau Gris

The new vintages of Jolie-Laide Trousseau Gris and Pinot Gris are in. Buy now from our online shop.

Where to begin… wines like this one are the reason I started a wine business. This particular wine has preternaturally brought me both new friends and tons of website traffic (“Jolie-Laide Trousseau Gris” is the #2 search term that brings people here, second only to “Winelandia”). The ache I feel deep in my soul when enjoying a glass of this beautiful wine is not one of pain, but one of longing – for things to come, for the evolution of wine in California, for the joyfulness of new and exciting experiences, for the hope of new wines that might move me in the way that this one has. At it’s root, wine is happiness, and I struggle with the enormity of the bliss I feel when I savor this wine.

The first time I had the Jolie-Laide Trousseau Gris, it was the 2011 vintage, and I was sitting at the bar of the now defunct Punchdown wine bar in Oakland with Colleen. At the time, we were a little confused by this Trousseau Gris that spent some time on the skins, and weren’t quite sure what to make of it. I’d only had Trousseau Gris as a varietal wine a few times before, from Wind Gap, whose rendition was an inexpensive, simple, quaffable, bright, and fresh summertime wine. I went on to find the 2012 Jolie-Laide Trousseau Gris a year later, which had less color but still had tons of spice and texture. I was floored by it, so taken by it’s beauty and grace that I wrote this blog post about it.


So what is Trousseau Gris? It’s a “gris” or grey grape, a mutation from the red Trousseau variety originally from the mountainous regions in France. Pinot Noir can mutate in the same way, creating Pinot Gris. It’s not uncommon for wine grapes to mutate into different colors, although some varieties are more prone than others. Anyhow, when Trousseau Gris is picked and pressed immediately after harvest, it produces a light straw-colored, bright, fresh, and fruity wine. Jolie-Laide’s version sees 5 days of skin contact during a pre-fermentation “cold soak”, where it extracts color, texture, phenols, spice, and loads of complexity.

Jolie-Laide is a one-man operation based in a Sebastopol winery. The winemaker, Scott Schultz, is an assistant winemaker at Wind Gap, and makes only 500 cases of wine a year under his own label. Jolie-Laide translates literally to “Pretty-Ugly”, a French term of endearment to describe something that is unconventionally beautiful. Scott’s wines are very true to their name, though there is nothing ugly about them.

I picked up a couple of cases of the latest vintage, the Jolie-Laide 2013 Trousseau Gris. Wines like this don’t come around every day, so get some before it’s gone.


Winemaker: Scott Schultz
Bio: Instead of a bio, I’ll tell you the story of how I came to know Scott. It was about 2 years ago, and I was up at the old Wind Gap tasting room with some friends. Scott, assistant winemaker at Wind Gap, also made his own wine in the same facility, and he was the one pouring the Wind Gap wines that day. We chatted a bit about wine-making and the business, and afterwards it seemed like I’d run into him every time I was at an industry event. It turns out Scott makes some of the most unique and highly sought-after wines in California, in minuscule quantities of course. This is his fourth vintage, and one we are very excited to offer to our customers.
Region: United States>California>Sonoma County>Russian River Valley
Vineyard: Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard
Blend: 100% Trousseau Gris
Aging: Neutral French oak puncheon & barrel
Production: A five day whole cluster cold soak on the skins gives this wine a beautiful peach-colored hue, texture, spice and weight. The wine underwent a spontaneous two week fermentation at cool temperatures, which preserved the intense aroma of the wine. Aged in neutral wood, no malo, and bottled in early March.
Tasting Notes: Sweet summer peach and honeysuckle intertwine with plushness and spice on the palate to produce an entirely unique wine, completely different from the last vintage, while still being true to the Trousseau Gris. An adventure in a glass.
Food Pairing: The only thing this wine needs is a big tulip shaped glass, abundant sunshine, and you.

10% off SALE! Beat the heat with rosé from Winelandia

With record-setting temperatures in the forecast this week, Winelandia is coming to the rescue with a rosé wine sale! Pick up some delicious pink wines to enjoy poolside, with a nice dinner salad, or on your porch. Sale ends 5/16/14.

Grace Wine Co. 2013 Rosé of Grenache, Santa Barbara Highlands – On sale for $20.70
Two Shepherds 2013 Rosé of Grenache Gris, Mendocino County – On sale for $21.60
La Clarine Farm 2013 Rosé of Syrah & Mourvedre, Sierra Foothills – On sale for $17.10

Buy six and qualify for delivery specials in the Bay Area (mix and match with non-sale items OK)! Have a great week.

Wine of the Week: Domaine Belluard NV Ayse Brut

The wines of Domaine Belluard are some of the most intriguing we’ve encountered in a while. In particular, I’ve taken a shine to the $24 Ayse Brut, an affordable sparkling wine made from 100% Gringet – a nearly extinct grape from the Savoie. Belluard’s estate is located in the French alpine village of Ayse, near the border of Switzerland. The grapes are from the lower slopes of Belluard’s Biodynamic vineyards, planted in chalky, stony slopes, with Mont Blanc towering in the background. Gringet makes an exciting and unusual varietal wine, while still being approachable, versatile, and delicious.

These unique, rare vineyards produce a wine that’s mineral-dominant, with notes of yellow citrus and floral alpine air. Belluard only uses concrete eggs to raise his wines, which are neutral vessels that don’t impart any flavors into the wine. What you get with this exuberant bubbly is pure terroir – a beautiful, unadulterated expression of the grape, soil, and alpine air.

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(If you’re in our wine club, you’ll be receiving a bottle of this with your next wine club shipment)


Winemaker: Dominique Belluard
Bio: Deep in the eastern French Alps, near the Swiss border, the Belluard family has been making wine in the village of Ayse since 1947.  They started with vineyards of Gringet (a rare grape variety endemic to the region) and fruit orchards. They now own 12 of the 22 remaining hectares of this nearly extinct grape, and are doing their best to preserve it. Their vineyards are certified Biodynamic, and all of their wines are fermented and aged in concrete eggs instead of wood or stainless steel. Great care is taken in the production of these wines, utilizing only native yeasts, and even aging their own sparkling wines in the bottle (most producers outsource this).
Region: France>Savoie>Haute-Savoie
Vineyard: Biodynamically farmed. Southern exposure, chalky scree soils in the Chablais Alps. Soils of clay & limestone. 55hl/ha.
Blend: 100% Gringet
Aging: Concrete eggs
Production Notes: Native yeast fermentation. Methode traditionelle. Bottled with minimum SO2.
Tasting Notes: This is a sparkling wine for serious wine lovers. Initial aromas of crushed rocks make way for citrus and white flowers. Medium-straw in color, it’s rich and electric on the palate. Assertive, linear, and bright – this wine will change the way you think about bubbles.
Food Pairing: Oysters, smoked fish, mountain cheeses, asparagus

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Wine of the Week: Two Shepherds Grenache Gris Rosé

This wine is SOLD OUT. Thanks for the interest!

There’s no question about it – two of the things I love most in life are rosé wine and weird grapes. Make a rosé wine out of a weird grape and chances are I will love it. This week’s Wine of the Week is a rosé from one of our favorite producers, Two Shepherds. Not only is it a fantastic wine, but it’s made from the noteworthy weird grape Grenache Gris – a grape that is genetically identical to Grenache Noir, but mutated so that the skins of the grapes are pinkish-gray.

This is a true old-vine wine, as the grapes are produced by 100 year old grapevines up in Mendocino County. It’s a very special and historic vineyard called Gibson Ranch, where these very old vines are dry-farmed (not irrigated) and head trained. The grapes were harvested in mid-September of 2013 and left to soak on the skins for 7 days prior to fermentation. This process allowed the wine to extract a ton of texture and complexity, which produced a rosé wine that is not just thirst-quenching and delicious, but also rich and nuanced.

There were only 33 cases of this delicious rosé produced, so she’s a rare bird indeed. Quantities are extremely limited, so get yours before it’s gone!

Two Shepherds 2013 Grenache Gris Rosé

Winemaker: William Allen

Bio: With a name like Two Shepherds, you’re probably surprised to find out that William Allen is a one-­man show. Allen is a longtime wine industry professional, and garagiste (home winemaker,) who decided to start a professional winery with an emphasis on Rhone varietals. His first release was only in 2010, but he’s called on many of the great low­intervention winemakers in California for advice, and it shows in his wine. He works out of a small winery in Santa Rosa, shared with two other wineries.

Allen only works with Rhone grapes, and even planted his own vineyard of Grenache recently. His wines are balanced, with both texture and acid, and really shine with food.

Region: California>Mendocino County

Vineyard: Gibson Ranch, a historical section of McDowell Valley Vineyard. 100+ year old, dry farmed, head-trained vines.

Blend: 100% Grenache Gris, a mutation of Grenache Noir – the skins are orangey-gray in color.

Aging: 5 months in stainless steel, 4 of which were sur-lie.

Production Notes: Harvested in mid-September at 21.5 Brix. Grapes were crushed and left on the skins to cold soak for 7 days, then pressed into neutral French oak and fermented with indigenous yeasts. After 2 weeks, the wine (which was not finished fermenting) was transferred to stainless steel tanks, where it spent the next 4 months fermenting at a temperature of 56F. The wine wanted to start malolactic fermentation, so it was allowed to do so and was then bottled unfined and unfiltered. 33 cases made.

Tasting Notes: Expressive aromas of citrus rind, tomato vine, and white peach. On the palate, it has balanced texture and weight, with a wonderful savory element from the extended skin contact, delivering tangy citrus, red grapefruit, and peach, with a lingering finish. Serve at a proper temperature of 52-56F, not directly from the refrigerator.

Food Pairings: Grilled or roasted vegetables, poached salmon with seared morels, arugula salad with bacon-shallot vinaigrette.


Expand your palate with these great new wines

Radikon 2010 S Pinot Grigio – Friuli
From the legendary Radikon – the benchmark producer of orange wines – we present you with this delicious orange Pinot Grigio. Fermented on the skins for 2-3 weeks, this wine is incredibly complex, copper-hued, food-friendly, and will change the way you think about wine.

Francois Pinon NV Vouvray Brut Non-Dose
Sparkling Vouvray is our favorite sparkling wine, second only to Champagne. Chenin Blanc lends itself to this rich, bubbly, refreshing, food-friendly, bone-dry, affordable sparkler. Pick up a few of these for celebrations or any Tuesday night.

Knebel 2012 Riesling von den Terrassen, Mosel
Slightly off-dry riesling is the perfect pairing for spicy foods. This perfectly yummy and fresh German riesling from the Mosel would be perfect with our Honey-Sriracha chicken wings, or any spicy Asian takeout for dinner at home. What grows together doesn’t necessarily have to go together.

Goisot 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Saint-Bris
You spoke, we listened. The people wanted Sauvignon Blanc, so here it is. However, this one is from Burgundy, and not your typical Loire. The vineyard is located just a few kilometers south of Chablis, and this wine screams both Chablis and Sancerre at the same time. Confusing? Yes. Delicious? Also yes.

Domaine de la Bel Air 2012 Cabernet Franc, Bourgueil
One of our first heart throbs was Cabernet Franc from the Loire. Always a bargain and super delicious, this is the perfect everyday wine for vegetarian foods and barbecue. Pick some of this up for your springtime dinner parties.

All of these wines are available now in our Online Shop! Buy 6 bottles or more and save on shipping or delivery.

Wine of the Week: Matthiasson 2014 Rosé

We just got the new 2014 vintage of Matthiasson Rosé back in stock! Click here to purchase.

It’s that time of year – 2014’s rosé wines are hitting the local wine shops and we were lucky enough to get our hands on some of the best pink juice around. Steve Matthiasson makes a great rosé (amongst other things), and he’s also the SF Chronicle’s Winemaker of the Year.

This rosé is one of the most graceful examples we’ve seen come out of California. A blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Counoise – all Rhône grape varieties – it’s super aromatic, bright, juicy, and begs for food or a sunny spring day. It’s the best rosé we’ve had all year, so you might want to get your hands on some while it’s still around.


Winemaker:  Steve Matthiasson
Bio: The SF Chronicle’s 2013 Winemaker of the Year and nominated for a James Beard award in 2014, Steve Matthiasson is one of Napa Valley’s top viticultural consultants. With over 20 years of experience, he is certainly no newcomer. He is known for championing Italian grape varieties in California, producing wines from grapes like tocai-friulano, refosco, and ribolla gialla. A Whittier college graduate and former San Francisco bike messenger, Steve now lives on his 5 acre Napa Valley farm with his wife and children.
Region: US>California
Vineyard: Windmill Vineyard (Yolo County) & Kahn Vineyard (Napa Valley)
Blend: 36% Grenache, 28% Syrah, 26% Mouvèdre, and 10% Counoise
Aging: Stainless steel, sur lie
Production Notes: Whole cluster direct-to-press (vin gris). Settled in tank for 24 hours, then fermented and aged sur lie in stainless steel barrels. No racking, fining, or cold stabilization. Wine was sterile filtered prior to bottling to prevent malolactic fermentation. 11.6% alcohol. 1000 cases produced.
Tasting Notes: Barely pink in color, gauzy aromas of grapefruit and white peach waft from the glass. On the palate, it is light-bodied and graceful with delicate acidity. This is one of the more elegant and refined rosés we’ve had from California – it’s perfect for a bright and sunny spring day.
Food Pairings: Light salads, fava beans, poached salmon, charcuterie, rabbit

Wine of the Week: Clos Siguier 2011 Cahors

This wine is now SOLD OUT. Thanks for your interest!

The story of this wine is a serendipitous one. One evening, I went to my favorite watering hole, Terroir, with the intent of enjoying a glass of wine while using their wifi to get some work done, as I often do. After all, they have an excellent selection of natural wines, great tunes, zippy wifi, and a comfortable atmosphere. I sat down at the bar next to a gentleman who also happens to be a wine rep (a person who sells wine wholesale) that I work with. He had been pouring samples for another one of his clients, and so he poured some for me, too.

One of those samples was this wine from Clos Siguier, a 2011 vintage Cahors. A blend of 95% Côt (Malbec) and 5% Tannat. It was in a price bracket I don’t normally explore, as I find that many wines in that range don’t quite meet my requirements to be featured on Winelandia. However, this one was different – it had lovely flavors, body without being heavy, balanced acidity, brightness, lots of aromatics, and freshness – these are all of the elements I seek when choosing wines for our shop. This is fairly atypical for Cahors, which usually prides itself on black, savory, age-worthy wines. This wine is still black in color, but it had enough fruit and and freshness to make me smile. A superb wine for the price – just $16 retail – perfect for a weeknight dinner. It is even on the wine list at Chez Panisse, a local foodie mecca.

I picked up just a case of this wine to offer in Winelandia’s online shop, because I feel it would be an excellent addition to your arsenal of wines suitable for a casual dinner at home or at a friend’s house. It’s versatile enough to enjoy on it’s own or with your favorite meal. We hope you like it as much as we do.


Winemaker:  Gilles Bley
Bio: Gilles Bley is a 4th generation winemaker in Cahors. He has a profound understanding of the region and a strong perspective on how Cahors should be made.
Region: France>Southwest France>Cahors
Vineyard: Organically farmed. Estate fruit. 60 year old vines. Red clay & limestone soil.
Blend: 95% Côt (Malbec), 5% Tannat
Aging: Neutral oak
Production Notes: Hand-harvested fruit, native yeast fermentation. 5-6 week maceration.
Tasting Notes: Bright and youthful. Fruit-forward and friendly without being over-extracted. Enticing aromas of black & red fruits, black tea, and crushed rock emerge from the glass. Medium bodied, medium acidity, fine tannins. Excellent wine for the value, and very food-friendly. This wine is featured on the bottle list at Chez Panisse!
Food Pairings: Aged raw cow’s milk cheeses, blue cheese, duck confit, cassoulet, lamb

Try it with our Lamb Chops with Herbes de Provence recipe.

Wine of the Week: Guillot-Broux 2012 Macon-Villages

This wine is SOLD OUT. Thanks for your interest!

A delicious and affordable young white Burgundy that you can drink any day of the week. This wine is incredibly versatile and food-friendly. It’s also great as an aperitif, with a cheese plate, or all by itself on a sunny day.


Winemaker:  Emmanuel Guillot-Broux
Bio: Emmanuel and his two brothers make some of the finest wine in all of Burgundy. The vineyards have been organic since the 1950s but were only recognized as Certified Organic in 1991. They grow Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Chardonnay across three villages in Macôn. Following the traditions of their grandparents, they are shepherds of the land, growing their grapes responsibly and producing wines with as little manipulation as possible. They believe that good wine is made by the vines, not in the winery.
Region: France>Burgundy>Macôn-Villages
Vineyard: Certified organic. Densely planted 10-80 year old vines. Blue clay and limestone soil.
Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Aging: 6 mos neutral oak, 5 months enamel-lined vats.
Production Notes: A blend of chardonnay grapes from three different villages within Macôn. Hand-harvested and sorted. Native yeast fermentation, malolactic fermentation in oak. 1700 cases produced.
Tasting Notes: Exotic tropical fruit and brioche aromas. The palate is elegant and rich with white fruit and creamy notes of mineralty framed by a note of oak and vibrant acidity.
Food Pairings: Excellent as an aperitif, or enjoy with hearty salads, fish, or roasted chicken.

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Try it with these recipes:
Wild Mushroom Risotto with a Poached Egg
Roasted Little Birds with Garlic-Herb Butter
Pan-seared duck breast with parsnip puree & arugula salad

Wine Review: La Clarine 2012 “Sumu Kaw” Syrah

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Winemaker:  Hank Beckmeyer
Bio: Run by Hank Beckmeyer, La Clarine Farm is a principled stand out in California winemaking. A follower of Masanobu Fukuoka’s “Do Nothing Farming” methods, Beckmeyer has created a holistic vineyard and winery experience, trying to leave the grapes alone to, in a sense, make the wine themselves. Beckmeyer sees himself as a guide for the transformation of grapes into wine. Beckmeyer understands that terroir is constantly changing, and everything he is doing to the vines, the grapes, and the land, is changing the terroir  – he is trying to keep it as pure and unadulterated as possible.
Beckmeyer has been quietly making wines in the Sierras since 2001, and has a diverse lineup, comprised largely of Rhone wines, both white and red. Hank’s laid­back winemaking approach produces wines with texture and tons of interest ­ he simply let each wine, each vintage, become whatever it might.
Region: US>California>Sierra Foothills
Vineyard: The Sumu Kaw Vineyard is at 3000′ elevation atop a ridge in the Sierra Foothills, and is located in the middle of a pine forest. The soils are composed of volcanic loam, which help create intense aromatics in the wine.
Blend: 100% Syrah
Aging: 600L puncheons
Production Notes: Fermented whole cluster. Racked once with a single 20ppm SO2 addition. 345 cases produced.
Tasting Notes: Dark fruit and herbs with smoky, meaty undertones. Nicely balanced with tannins and acid. Showing nicely now, but could easily age for 6+ years. Give it 6-8 hours of air prior to drinking.
Food Pairings: Game, sausages, pizza with smoked mozzarella

Buy on!