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Friday, March 21, 2014

About San Diego: J. Brix "Vins de Garage"

“Everything you'll ever need to know is within you; the secrets of the universe are imprinted on the cells of your body.” ~ Dan Millman


Unfortunately I can't read those notes about the secrets of the universe, but what I can do is find some of those seemingly secret garagiste wine-making facilities, quietly located right here in the midst of a San Diego neighborhood.

Where it's exactly, is not really important, for the purposes of this article, that will remain a secret. But what I will reveal is the fact that J.Brix is getting most of its fruit from the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard and the wine being produced is going to turn a lot of heads. Just remember you heard it here first.

While home wine-making is nothing new, nor is it big "news", however finding a home winemaker putting out amazing juice is a big deal. That said, I'd to shine a big, bright light on J.Brix, a local San Diego winemaker who in my opinion has got his craft dialed in, just like the some of the better known and more established wineries I often visit in traditional settings. 

I was introduced to them my by a good friend and fellow wine blogger, Beau Carufel [Beau's Barrel Room] who gave me tip about the quality of wine being produced by J.Brix, boy was he right. All the red wines I tasted scored 90 points and higher across the board, with each of their wines set to sell for a paltry *$25, making for some very nice QPR [*prices are subject to change without notice]. They've a very tasty selection of of wines, many from what I like to call the Rhone-Zone, a few variations of Grenache and Syrah and a off-beat Riesling. And it looks like they have plans for a Pinot Noir. 

If you are scratching your head wondering what the bleep is Garagistes or Vins de Garage? Frankly it's just a fancy way of saying you make wine in your garage. It's not a new term, but the onset of this practice is definitely "nuevo"

It's one that has really caught fire of late. In places like Paso Robles, they even have a festival going down this year to celebrate the many wine-making out-laws and renegades, who are producing some serious vino in their garage or in low-budget shared wine-making facilities, where there are no fancy Chateau's, but boat loads of passion for making seriously artisan styles of wine. If you want to find out more, make plans to join the, 2012 Paso Garagiste Festival coming up November 10, 2012 at Windfall Farms.




J.Brix is the first successful "garagiste" producer I've come across here in San Diego and one I'd highly recommend that you get to know better. Their wines are of such a high quality, that they could command some serious price points in the future. I'd say their future is so bright gotta wear shades!

Their wines are as good as many of my favorite Central Coast producers, I'd invite you to seriously consider getting to know both Emily and Jody Brix Towe [great folks, whose passion for wine-making is evident from the first splash to the last drop] and give their wines a swirl at their next open house, donations to their harvest fund are always welcomed and appreciated. 

Wow, talk about boutique-producers, they've got that going on in spades and with only producing about 25 cases of each wine, with quality like this, those case counts could be gone in a flash. Below, I reviewed a couple of great examples I tasted just last weekend.

2011 Uncontainable Vin Gris of Grenache: Not only is it not-containable, it's also quite refreshing and just plain fun to drink. A nose of dried rose petals, but wow, this wine has a nice body to it, I'd say more like that of a tiny-dancer. On the palate it’s light and lean, graceful, and definitely a nice bit of substance, a rich mouth-feel sharing generous flavors and aromas, think cranberries and fresh summer strawberries and a splash of citrus, hello summer time pool-side companion. It has me thinking, roasted chicken and freshly grilled veggies, I scored this wine 89 points, very nicely done. 

2009 Grenache La Paloma Libresca: Very generous fruit is up front and has a nice follow-through on the finish. While chock full rich spiced red fruit and boysenberry, dark cherry with smooth, warmly textured tannins, which you won't find too heavy handed. A fun but none-the-less subtle exotic spice note quietly plays bass in the background, very compelling. This wine says; back yard barbecue favorite all the way, grab some free range chicken, your favorite marinade or BBQ sauce, it's time for a party. I gave this wine a score of 91 points, again wow, nicely done.

2009 La Belle Rêveuse Grenache, Syrah Blend: The wine is based on very fresh fruit; it is intense and full of energy, something like; 60% Syrah and Grenache 40%. A wine impressively endowed with nice girth and weight to it. Ripe red and black fruits give it a generous mouth feel, the barbecue spices, and underbrush tie the whole package together. Wonderfully textured, it’s rich, and very impressive from the first splash to the last drop. Another impressive effort, 92 points, wow!

Until next folks, have a winetastic weekend; remember as always life is short, don't settle for commodity wines and sip long and prosper cheers!
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1 comment:

Beau said...

Glad you got out there to taste the wines Bill, I think that the J. Brix story is one that needs to be told, and they're among the vanguard of new, exciting San Diego-area vintners and wineries doing great things.

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