Robert Parker: 90 points
|Appellation||Santa Barbara County|
Grilled cherries, Swiss Tobacco, raspberry brambles, rare steak, evergreen forest, strawberry hard candies and mocha
20% whole cluster fruit, 80% destemmed in open top 1.5 ton fermenters given punchdowns and pumpovers with love.
The grapes for this Santa Barabara county wine came from White Hawk, Larner, Watch Hill, and Old Potrero vineyards.
After several years learning from and working for some of the Central Coast's most sought-after producers, owner/winemaker Curt Schalchlin, decided to venture off on his own path. In doing so, he felt that his wines were not a homage to wines made before his, but a new, original creation of his own. Sans Liege, which means "without allegiance," represents the spirit he is trying to achieve with his winemaking. Curt's wines are divided into two labels, the San Liege Lines, which are Rhone Blends, and his Groundwork wines, which are single Rhone varietals. We have found his "Groundwork" lineup represents one heck of a value and we started off with two of his best Groundwork offerings, his Syrah and Grenache Blanc.
Curt sources grapes from a variety of vineyards across the Central Coast. Curt trusts more in intuition of the microcosms of each vineyard site and vine to guide his work through each vintage. Tending fruit in vineyards from Paso Robles down to Santa Barabra, Curt feels the sites speak to him and guide him in his winemaking, thus the vineyards, he says, are his only true partners.
The Groundwork represents the raw fuel for Curt's wines. It is more about the vineyard blocks than about notoriety. The grapes tell a very real story of a place, with its own quirks and eccentricities, rather than trying fulfill a haloed image of some other place. For in diversity lies the greatest opportunity. These fields provide the basic building blocks for the creative work that is channeled into exemplary wines.