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Jolie-Laide Wines

Jolie-Laide Syrah Hawk’s Butte Vineyard 2021 (750 ml)

Jolie-Laide Syrah Hawk’s Butte Vineyard 2021 (750 ml)

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The 2021 vintage marks our second vineyard designate bottling of Hawk’s Butte Syrah. Located 30 miles east of the Pacific Ocean at an elevation of 1,500 feet in Mendocino County’s Yorkville Highlands, Hawk’s Butte Vineyard is organically farmed and enjoys a cooler, oceaninfluenced climate. The south-facing vines thrive on steep slopes, where cool winds and rocky, heat-retentive soils create the perfect conditions for grapes to ripen with excellent acidity.

The ideal 2021 growing season allowed us to extend the grape hang time, resulting in a bottling that showcases Hawks Butte’s potential for opulent concentration, while picked on the early side to preserve acidity and freshness. Once harvested, the grapes were foot stomped and fermented whole cluster. We rely on native yeasts to carry out the fermentation process before the wine is pressed to neutral puncheons for aging. The wine rests in bottle for a year before release.

Fresh and bright but packed with intensity. The nose opens slowly to cassis, bay leaves, damp earth with olive and spit roasted game. The 2021 Hawk’s Butte shows off flavors that are spiced, peppery, and complex. A medium to full-bodied Syrah with a plush tannin and texture. 13% ABV

Jolie-Laide is a two-person operation based in Sebastopol. The name Jolie-Laide translates loosely to Pretty-Ugly, a French term of endearment to describe something that is unconventionally beautiful.  Founded originally by Scott Schultz, and later joined by his partner Jenny Schultz, their winemaking method is simple: grapes are left whole cluster, foot crushed, and aged in neutral oak. All ferments are done with native yeasts, for both primary and secondary fermentations (no inoculation), and the musts tend to be low pH/high acid, allowing for no added SO2 at the press, and minimal at bottling (12-15 PPM free SO2 for the early drinking cuvees, 20-25 PPM free SO2 for bigger reds).  They work with a handful of growers, all of whom farm organically (none certified); it is their ability to seek out spectacular vineyard sites which allows them to be hands off in the winemaking process.

Scott’s passion for wine was ignited when he moved to Napa from Chicago in 2007.  Scott began his transition into the winemaking world after a move to Napa for employment as Wine Director at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Napa Valley. As he explains, “everyone I met was a winemaker, so on my days off I followed people around to see what they were doing." Before he knew it, he had secured the cellar master job at Realm Winery. That was followed by working with Arnot-Roberts, and then joining Pax Mahle in the same capacity working on the Pax and Wind Gap labels. Scott’s passion for winemaking grew so significantly that he decided to start his own project, Jolie-Laide, in 2010. 

One feature to note – the labels change every year, featuring a different artist or art collective. “Our wines are a celebration of the year and seasons in which they are made, always unique and different, no two bottlings are ever the same.”

Scott and Jenny’s approach is a natural one, a less is more ethos. But their keen eye for finding great fruit from only sustainably and responsibly-farmed sites, coupled with an impressive natural talent, lead to consistently delicious wines.  As Scott says, “The do-nothing approach isn’t new by any means; it’s just funny how far many have gotten away from it.”

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