Not all wine festivals are created equal. Some are mob scenes where most of the attendees seem to be focused on how quickly they can get their buzz on, and others are just great fun–good crowd, some seriously great wines, and decent food to soak up all that vino. The LAWineFest this year falls into the latter (better) category.
I’m not going to go into exhausting detail, but will share a few thoughts followed by some of my phone pics from the event.
Their Boutique Wine Garden is a fabulous idea, and the wineries who were included in that premium spot were impressive across the board. It was an additional $45 for admission to that exclusive area, and well worth it. All of them were small-lot producers (1500 cases a year, max). That’s right up in my wheelhouse, because I am reliably charmed by these winemakers and their almost always surprisingly good wines. My two favorites were Eagle Eye Wines from Napa, a small producer of all-estate wines–I loved everything of theirs I tasted, and especially loved their rosé of Cabernet Franc (and now I wish I’d ordered a few bottles to go with the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc I DID order). I’m very much looking forward to visiting their ranch in Napa later this summer for an interview and future blog feature.
The other winemaker who just knocked my socks off was Vinemark Cellars, a true Garagiste. Owner/winemaker Mark Wasserman was pouring a big lineup of his wines, and all of them impressed. I especially liked his Sangiovese (which he ferments with pinot noir yeast!), and his Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir. Honestly, I loved everything Vinemark poured for me.
After tasting all that delicious wine, I was more than happy to line up at one of the food trucks–a great addition to the festival. And the Cousin’s Maine Lobster roll I had was tasty. If you missed it this year, don’t miss it next year. Great wines, and great fun.