Is this rosé weather or what? Time to lay in your supply for the summer. But how about going with some that aren't as well known as the rosés from Domaine Tempier, Miraval, Arnot-Roberts or Robert Sinskey? To find rosés produced in minuscule quantities that even your most savvy wine geek friends may not know, head for the the Los Angeles edition of the Garagiste Festival on July 11.
Last year’s was the first ever in L.A., held at Union Station and dubbed “Urban Exposure.” This year, it’s at the Wiltern theater, which should be a splendid venue for the fledgling small (less than 1,500 cases) producers pouring their wines. The organizers tout the Garagiste Festivals as “a place for the underground, the different, and the cutting edge of small production winemaking with no rules.” And that pretty much says it.
The nonprofit festival, which benefits the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Program, started out in Paso Robles and got so popular that a Southern Edition was added a few years ago in Solvang. It's one of the most exuberant wine festivals around, precisely because you get to have the thrill of discovery. Each festival a new crop of garagistes have the chance to show their wines, sometimes for the first time, along with regulars such as Larry Tercero of Tercero Vineyards or Sonja Magdevski of Casa Dumetz.
The concept is tweaked each time around and for the Urban Edition this year, they’ve added a roundup of rosés. Pink wines have become so popular that there are 20 rosés in the 2015 tasting at $16 to $26 per bottle. Of course, they’ll include plenty of Grenache-based Rhone-style rosés, but you’ll be able to taste pink wines made from Pinot Noir, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Mourvèdre and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Since most of these ultra-small wineries don't have tasting rooms, the wines are usually only available by mailing list. The bottles don't often show up on local wine shop shelves either, so the Garagiste tasting is the one opportunity to taste a slew of these small lot rosés. You'll also be able to buy them from festival partner Spin the Bottle in mix or match cases.
You'll have the rosé nobody else has. How good is that?
Tickets to the Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure at the Wiltern July 11 from 3 to 6 p.m. are $69 online. Buying a VIP ticket for $99 gets you an extra hour to taste and chat with winemakers before everyone else comes in. At the door (if still available), tickets will be $110 for VIP and $80 for general admission.