We’ve all had that “epiphany bottle” of wine. Maybe it was the first time you had a decent Bordeaux or even your 10th Premier Cru Burgundy. You can’t predict when it comes, but you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s that sip of wine where you suddenly realize what the fuss is all about, where you actually sit up and understand how great a glass of wine can be.
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For Jason Martin, who founded the LA Wine Project, that epiphany moment just happened to be pink. It’s odd. To fall in love with a rosé. He admits it. But from that moment forward, Jason has been on a journey, sometimes quixotic, sometimes comical, always looking forward, to make the best rosé in the world.
These are wines that will make you forget Provence. They are light and crisp with a bare wisp of sweetness. My current favorite is the The Beautiful and the Damned Rosé of Grenache 2017. This wine is absolutely delicious with seafood and has enough structure and acidity to back up against any Asian spice (well, maybe not Sichuan, but then again, maybe yes…?)– JDH
Several years ago, Jason drove from LA up the Central Coast. He was looking to buy grapes. He had no idea how to do it. Fortune smiled on his effort and in a local cafe, he met a guy who told him that he had a vineyard and the fruit was good, used by some of the top wineries in the area. The guy told Jason if he would bring in the crop, he could keep 25% of whatever he picked. So Jason get every friend he had in town to drive 2 hours North to the Santa Ynez Valley to pick grapes in the middle of the night. He wasn’t sure why the middle of the night. He’d seen other do it. If it was good enough for them, then that’s how it would be. As the fingers of dawn tickled over the horizon, he drove his quarter share home in a rented trailer truck and made his first rosé in his garage.
It turned out okay. But the city shut him down. Apparently, making wine in your garage is a violation of several different municipal codes. Who knew?
Jason has evolved his process significantly since the garage days. In part because he met Andy MacMurray, an esteemed grower and winemaker, who has championed Jason’s pink cause. Now Jason makes 3 single varietal rosés, each with distinctive character and personality.