La Garagista "Loup d'Or" 2020
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Press 2 • July 2023 Direct Press Selection
Few winemakers have had as much influence on the discussion around North American hybrids as Deidre Heekin of La Garagista in Vermont. We could probably devote an entire newsletter just on her project and her proteges but the basic facts are this: she and her husband Caleb Barber ran a farm-to-table restaraunt for 20 years in Woodstock, VT, and making their own wine seeme like a natural extension of farming their own radicchio and other greens that were hard to find locally. The winery started in 2010 and she uses a chef's mentality of 'using everything in the kitchen,' blending different ferments and experimenting freely to create bottles that permanently alter many peoples' perception of wine. She also experimenting because she feels that we still don't know what Vermont and the grapes that thrive there can do yet. There's a wide-eyed sense of playfulness and yet a deep earnestness to her wines that understandably resonates with adventurous wine drinkers.
Loup d'Or is made from 100% Brianna, a white grape with DNA from several Muscats, Grenache Blanc, Schiava, Bourboulenc, and Tibourin Gris. It sees extended aging on its less in glass demijohns, where it develops flor, the unique layer of yeast present in Sherry and Jura. To my palate there is a very clear parallel with Manzanilla, but there is a floral freshness and finesse on top of the salinity and nuttiness that created a combination of colors and sensations that I had never experienced. It went from provocative and challenging to fascinating and thrilling. Mind blown. Jonathan Kemp