Sans Liege The Offering 2012
In the pages of the book your father read to you there were paintings of jungles. Strange boughs laden with deep flowers, blueberries filled with cream guarded by amber jewelled jaguars. As you drifted to sleep the summer air was swollen with storms, you could smell the wet earth, the hyacinth, your mother’s rare perfumes. Swaddled in your clean bed, you never heard the car pull out, crushing the violets in the yard.
Blend: 48% Grenache, 34% Syrah, 17% Mourvedre, 1% Viognier.
Growing up in East Los Angeles, Curt was not a wine country kid raised among the vines. He got a glimpse of the wine world when coming to the central coast at the age of 20. He became enamored with winemaking and jumped right in.
His wine label Sans Liege (sahn leej) or "without allegiance" aptly describes his tenacity to pursue winemaking on the central coast unhindered by the trappings of any particular style. He is excited to have the opportunity to be a part of a winemaking region which is still shaping its history. For Sans Liege he focuses on Rhone varietals (especially Grenache) and favors character over notoriety when choosing vineyards for in diversity lies the promise of uncommon opportunity. He also crafts his foundational wines, Groundwork Wine Co. which are pure varietal expressions at an everyday price point.
With a dry and mild climate cooled significantly by moist ocean fog and breezes, Santa Barbara County is a grape-grower’s dream. Part of the larger Central Coast appellation, Santa Barbara is home to Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez Valley. The conditions here provide an opportunity for nearly effortless production of high-quality cool-climate wines. This is also the site of the 2004 film Sideways, which caused Pinot Noir’s popularity to skyrocket and brought new acclaim to the region.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the stars of Santa Barbara, producing wines marked by racy acidity. Crisp Sauvignon Blanc and savory Syrah are also important. The region is home to many young and enthusiastic winemakers eager to experiment with less common varieties including Chenin Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Trousseau Gris, Gamay and Cabernet Franc, making it an exciting area to watch.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.