Friday, May 18, 2012

Sans Liege Wines – A Taste of the Rhône at Pismo Beach, California

After visiting Casa Dumetz, at the recommendation of Sonja Magdevski I headed north on Highway 101 to check out Sans Liege Wines, an urban winery in Pismo Beach.

Sans Liege Wines (“without a leader”) was founded by winemaker Curt Schalchlin (pronounced “SHACK-lin”) and his wife Kara. Their focus is on producing fine Rhône red and white blends. The Schalchlins source their wines from high quality growers and they makes their wines with their own equipment at Central Coast Wine Services in Santa Maria.

Sans Liege Wines has contracts from three west side Paso Robles vineyards: the Las Colinas Vineyard, Derby Vineyard and Pipestone Vineyard. In Santa Barbara County, they buy Syrah from Zotovich Vineyard in the eastern end of the Sta. Rita Hills and Larner Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley. He has also purchased fruit from Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard (owned by Laetitia). 

The tasting room is just off of Highway 101, is across the street from another tasting room and is just a stone’s throw from the beach. While visiting I tasted the following wines:

My first sample was the 2010 Côtes-du-Coast - Central Coast California. This is a Rhône-style white wine blend of 43% Viognier, 23% Roussanne and 22% Marsanne. This wine has a light perfumed nose of tropical fruits (especially pineapples) followed by aromas of crème brûlée, honey, white flowers and golden apples. On the palate this wine is crisp with and underlying minerality, is medium-bodied wine with a rich mouthfeel and ends with a lingering pineapple finish. A beautiful wine for $26 so I brought one home.

The second pour was the 2010 “Call To Arms” – Paso Robles. This is also a Rhône-style white wine blend of 70% Grenache Blanc and 30% Roussanne. Similar to the previous wine in fruit profile but with more cantaloupe melon. On the palate the wine is light in weight and but explosive in flavor intensity and it has a prolonged tropical finish. An absolute fabulous wine for $30 so I took a bottle home.

The third wine in the line-up was the 2009 “Pickpocket” Grenache – Templeton Gap. Bright ruby red in color, this wine has a vibrant cherries, red currants, cinnamon and a hint of white pepper on the nose. On the plate it is medium bodied with mouth-watering acidity and a prolonged finish. A marvelous wine for $40 a bottle.

My final wine was the Non-Vintage (a blend of 2009 and 2010) “Prophetess” – Santa Barbara County. A blend of 66% Syrah and 33% Mourvèdre On the nose this wine displays a big dose of black pepper that unfortunately dominates the fruit profile. But once I got past the pepper I picked up dried fruits (dates, raisins, dried plums) and black licorice. This sells for $40 but it just has too much pepper for my palate.

To visit or for more information:

Sans Liege Wines
870 Price Street
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Phone: 1-805-773-2770
Hours: Thurs. 3 p.m. -9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 1 p.m. -9 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.