These "Grand Cru" hipsters who renew Californian wine
Americans call them the “Young Winemakers”, neo-winemakers who return to the land to produce natural and trendy wines. These pros of marketing and graphic design on labels, landed in San
Americans call them the "Young Winemakers", neo-winemakers who return to the land to produce natural and trendy wines. These pros of marketing and graphic design on labels, landed from San Francisco or New York, free themselves from codes and are already seducing beyond American borders. GQ has toured the (new) Grand Dukes.
Among American wines, we especially know the Napa Valley, Disneyland of red gold invaded by tourists. But a new family of winegrowers has decided to enter into a revolution. Their manifesto? Rediscover the land. Dwell on the quality of its soil: become geographers, where the elders have established insane industries. If in France the movement of so-called natural wines is well established, and that we are in second position of “AB” surfaces in Europe, for the Americans, the approach is singular. It disrupts a culture of performance, junk food and excess. But above all, it produces unsuspected wines. Because these new winegrowers have their own style. Freer, with a very assumed marketing dimension, they are ruffling up the very way of thinking about wine, transforming it into a rock'n'roll and experimental beverage that is likely to monopolize tables around the world in the coming decades. From the north of San Francisco to Santa Barbara, without passing through the large areas of Napa Valley.
Scribe Winery Favorite Grape: Pinot Noir The indie wine adventure begins here, 50 miles from San Francisco in Sonoma County. The Mariani brothers have invested in an old hacienda, a place of debauchery during Prohibition. Their wines, already sold in Australia or Japan, have something powerful but also caressing. These " guardians of the earth " embody on the one hand the return to reality: they cultivate by hand, without pesticides. On the other, they rely on communication, cajoling the graphics of labels, and posing for brands like Dockers. " American youth is trying to forge an oenological culture. We are living in an exciting time ", enthuses Adam. Favorite bottle: their lively and vintage Pinot Noir.scribewinery.com
Banshee Favorite grape variety: Pinot noir Just like at Scribe Winery, the trio Noah, Baron and Steve favor the "minimum human intervention, says the first. We want to let the earth express itself. In Healdsburg, their lair resembles a designer bar with a storefront. They sell T-shirts and tote bags in the image of the vintages. The wine culture is desacralized and the " benchmark " assumes itself. They use it as a vehicle for a convivial and rock philosophy: Banshee also organizes an indie music festival every year. " We see ourselves as explorers, adds Steve. Our goal is to surprise…" And to succeed. Their bottles are distributed in 40 states, Australia, England… " Maybe soon in France. But the export taxes are too high! " Favorite bottle: their Sonoma County Pinot Noir, an elegant and subtle vintage.bansheewines.com
Dirty & Rowdy Grapes: semillon, mourvèdre In Santa Rosa, Hardy Wallace embodies the hard core of the wine revolution. This ex-Silicon Valley executive left everything behind to create Dirty & Rowdy, inspired by his combined love for grape varieties and guitar riffs. It has no domain and "squatting" vineyards. And for sales, he counts on the web. He is doing well: in the United States, wine has become a 2.0 product. The crowdfunding site Naked Wine recently allowed a winemaker to earn a million dollars. Favorite bottle: Skin and Concrete Egg Fermented Napa Semillon.dirtyandrowdy.com
Ledge vineyards Favorite grape variety: syrah (Estrella Clone) Paso Robles smells of freedom and redneck charm. Halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the city has become the new El Dorado for winemakers. Among them, Mark Adams, a former musician from LA who left everything behind nine years ago: " Wine, like music, is a risk-loving profession. " The tasting is shocking. Its wines mix grape varieties and free themselves from codes. An original creation that delivers a strangely salty taste, as if the tide had taken over the vine. Favorite bottle: Ledge Syrah, Adams Ranch Vineyard.ledgevineyards.com
Municipal Winemakers Favorite grape variety: syrah In Los Alamos, there is a more familiar California: that of surf vans and the smell of marijuana. In the middle of old saloons converted into meeting places for hipster artists from LA, a wooden cabin where the Municipal Winemakers label has established itself. Owner Dave Potter offers inexpensive bottles with effective labels. He also owns a bar in Santa Barbara where he serves his own vintages. " It's important to make an accessible wine and to develop contact with consumers, to pass on a savoir-vivre", he says. On the terrace, the two surfers, Michael and Mikey, at the head of Scar of the Sea wines, offer a taste of their oceanic beverages. Favorite bottle: the Fizz Sparkling Syrah, a full-bodied vintage with fresh notes.municipalwinemakers.com
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