Growing up in East Los Angeles, Curt Schalchlin didn’t try his first wine until he was in college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he majored in Business. It was through his part-time job during school at Trader Joe’s that he discovered bottles from all over the world and his casual interest in wine tasting on the weekends turned into an eventual fascination and ultimately, his vocation. Later, Curt took the opportunity to help his friend McPrice Myers, who was starting his own winery. It was while working with McPrice and Russell From, of Herman Story and Barrel 27 wineries, that Curt first fell for Rhône varietals*. A trip to the actual Rhône Valley in France and a conversation with Bernard Gripa—a third-generation grower in Saint Joseph—inspired Curt to start his own wine label and call it ‘Sans Liege’ which means “without allegiance” in French. In his words, Sans Liege is “a relentless search for independence. It is equally aligned with the freedoms of the New World and the heritage of the Rhône Valley but is careful not to hold too closely to either. Instead, I trust my intuition as to the microcosms of each vineyard site and vine to guide my work through each vintage.”
Groundwork is Curt’s second label focused on single varietal wines, all of which are sourced from select vineyards on the Central Coast. Groundwork is all about the fundamentals. Putting to use the empirical knowledge he has gained from making wine for Sans Liege, Curt seeks to bring his experience to a new set of wines that embrace the soul and simple living of the Rhône and other wine-producing areas of Europe.
100% organic Grenache hand harvested from Kopak Vineyard in Templeton, California. The grapes were sent directly to press upon arrival at the winery and were fermented in stainless-steel tanks with native yeast. Aged four months in stainless steel. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimal SO2 added.
Subtle aromas of summer fruits. It bursts from the glass like a fresh fruit salad with juicy flavors of strawberry and watermelon mingled with a savory herbal note. Juicy, lip-smacking finish. 540 cases produced.
* We note with some irony that while Grenache is widely referred to as a “Rhone varietal,” it is not originally from France. Depending on who you ask or what text you read, it is originally from Spain (Garnacha), or possibly from Sardinia (Cannonau).