2018 Jolie-Laide "Halcon Vineyard" Syrah, Yorkville Highlands-Cuvee-Wine-Society

2018 Jolie-Laide "Halcon Vineyard" Syrah, Yorkville Highlands

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Jolie-Laide is a one-man operation based in a Sebastopol winery. The name Jolie-Laide translates loosely to “Pretty-Ugly”, a French term of endearment to describe something that is unconventionally beautiful. We believe Scott Schultz to be one of the most exciting and talented winemakers in California. His winemaking method is simple; whole cluster, foot crushed, aged in neutral oak and the outcome is magnificent. Scott works with a handful of growers many of which farm organically; it is in his ability to seek out spectacular vineyard sites which allow him to be hands off in the winemaking process. While Scott makes very little wine, we feel so grateful to share a piece of Jolie-Laide.

Scott’s passion for wine was ignited when he moved to Napa from Chicago in 2007. Scott began his transition into the winemaker world after a move to Napa for employment as Wine Director at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Napa Valley. As he explains, “everyone I met was a winemaker, so on my days off I followed people around to see what they were doing." Before he knew it, he had secured the cellar master job at Realm Winery. That was followed by working with Arnot-Roberts, and then joining Pax Mahle in the same capacity working on the ‘Pax’ and ‘Wind Gap’ labels. Scott’s passion for winemaking grew so significantly that he decided to start his own project in 2010. To this day, he shares a winemaking space with Pax and several other like-minded producers in Sebastopol.

Scott’s approach is a natural one, picking his grapes by hand, crushing them by foot treading and aging the finished wines in neutral oak. But his keen eye for finding great fruit from only sustainably and responsibly-farmed sites, coupled with his impressive winemaking talent never compromise the quality of the wines. “The do-nothing approach isn’t new by any means; it’s just funny how far many have gotten away from it.”

Halcon is an extraordinary, rocky site at 2500 ft in the Yorkville Highlands. High elevation, cold coastal breezes, extreme low vigor soils and dense plantings converge to grow a enigmatic style of Syrah mostly unknown in California. Dramatic conditions constrict the sugar accumulation, meaning we pick later but at a lower brix level - preserving natural acidity. The grapes are all crushed by foot and fermented whole cluster, with nothing more than gentle punchdowns throughout. Pressed to old, neutral French oak barrique for a 10-month elevage, capturing and preserving the delicate and expressive nature. Light on its feet, ebulliently perfumed and spiced full of all the things we adore about Syrah - lavender, violet, olive, peppercorn and graphite.