July 3, 2017
A Pure Approach to Making Wine
If you look up the definition of “ground truth,” you’ll find many different definitions. Among soldiers, the “ground truth” refers to the strategic reality of a military situation. For a meteorologists, it refers to atmospheric information collected on location. Among poets, it refers to the fundamental truth. Before being a winemaker Garrett Gamache would collect ground-truth data out in the field when working as a geologist. But as a winemaker his label “Ground Truth” refers to what the French call terroir: the expression of grapes in specific soils and microclimates.
Garrett came to his own ground truth in a roundabout way. Like many young Central Coast winemakers, he didn’t come from a family of farmers. Instead, he discovered his calling after majoring in geology and growing frustrated with the office jobs he found after graduation. He worked for Ryan Carr of Carr Winery during his undergraduate degree at UCSB, and it was this call to be back in nature that led him to learn how to farm, essentially. He quickly realized that his favorite wines were the result of minimal winemaker intervention and instead tasted of their specific terroir.
Garrett’s minimalistic approach is immediately apparent in his wines. He strongly believes that wine should be an expression of the terroir above all else, and to achieve this, he keeps his production super small. Grapes for his wines are sourced from the best vineyards around Santa Barbara County, like Whitehawk Vineyard for his Viognier, Coquelicot Vineyard for his Rosé, and Kimsey Vineyard for his Syrah. The cooler temperatures in Whitehawk allow the aromatic nature of Viognier to fully develop while maintaining structured acidity. Similarly, the sandy soils of Kimsey are perfect for Syrah because it helps the earthy, spicy nature to show forth instead of big, jammy fruit. Finally, whole cluster pressing allows his Rosé juice to run free, with minimal skin contact, which naturally allows the earthy notes of Syrah to more subtly assert themselves.
Garrett also uses only indigenous yeast for fermentation, which means that yeast is not used to impart flavors that are not natural to the grapes, to the juice, or to the aging process. The resulting wines express pure, varietally-correct characteristics that speak of the beauty of soil and of climate and not of technology.
His smaller approach is aligned with his humble demeanor: when asked where he sees himself in ten years, Garrett replies that he’d like to keep making fantastic, small production wines. In fact, his current releases are his biggest yet at a combined 300 cases! While he probably wouldn’t mind being known as the great winemaker that he is, Garrett isn’t looking to become the next Robert Mondavi; in fact, he’d prefer that his label is recognizable, not him. In a time when so many are seeking to be the next rock star winemaker, Garrett’s approach is refreshing because his focus is purely on the wine and not on self-promotion. See for yourself and discover more in our interview that we had at the Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café:
Experience Garrett’s Grount Truth for yourself! He’ll be at Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café on July 28th between 5:30 and 6:30 to pour his wines and chat!
Discover Ground Truth during the month of July at 20% OFF! You’ll be glad you did!
Ground Truth 2016 Syrah Rose
The Syrah grapes for Ground Truth’s rose are sourced from the Coquelicot Vineyard. After a gentle whole cluster press with minimal skin contact, the juice is then fermented and aged in neutral French oak. The resulting wine is ripe and round, with defining cherry fruit notes but bright acidity throughout.
Ground Truth 2015 Viognier
The grapes here are from the Whitehawk Vineyard which is very sandy and in a cool climate with marine influence. These influences extract acidity and aromatics, particularly the florals for which Viognier is known. The juice is fermented in neutral oak and aged in stainless steel to both smooth out rough edges and maintain acidity. This is the perfect summer wine because it will pair with just about any seafood or salad, and deliciously so!
Ground Truth 2014 Syrah
Grapes from the Kimsey Vineyard are 30% whole cluster pressed and the juice is fermented using only indigenous yeast. This means that the wine expresses only what Syrah should express: blackberry, white pepper, and olive tapenade. Rivaling any Syrah-based Rhone wine, it’s fast becoming a Los Olivos Café favorite!