Lo-Fi Wines Tasting Room

Visiting the Lo-Fi Wines was a superb combination of enjoying natural wines as a record player set the vibe - in Los Alamos, California

During my lovely dinner at Grandmaster Recorders in Hollywood, I struck up a conversation with the restaurant’s sommelier regarding a particular wine from Coquelicot Estate Vineyard . He then gave me some recommendations of wineries in Los Olivos and Los Alamos that I quickly made a note to visit.

After a delicious lunch and conversation with a friend at The Shop Brunch in Santa Barbara, I lesuirely made my way up the coast to one of the wine makers on his list – Lo-Fi Wines in Los Alamos.

“Lo-fi” wines, also known as “natural” or “minimal intervention” wines, have gained popularity in recent years for their focus on organic or biodynamic farming practices, minimal use of additives, and non-interventionist winemaking techniques. While Los Alamos, California, isn’t as famous as some other wine regions in the state (Napa and Sonoma 👀)   it has its own unique history in the realm of lo-fi wines.

In Los Alamos, the emergence of lo-fi wines is closely tied to the broader movement within the wine industry towards sustainability and a return to traditional methods of winemaking. Winemakers in the region have increasingly embraced organic and biodynamic farming practices, eschewing synthetic pesticides and fertilizers in favor of more natural and environmentally friendly methods

Walking in to Lo-Fi Wines, I realized it had been much too long since I’d enjoyed a wine tasting experience. Also, the fact that Lo-Fi wines not only meant “natural” wine – as well as contributing to the overall aesthetics, with a record player playing a 45 in the back of the space – was awesome.

I said hi to the bartender du jour – Eli -who I learned was the winemaker’s son, sat down at the bar, and the tasting began.

I started with the 2022 Chenin Blanc – from the Honey Bear Orchard Vineyard in Los Olivos. On my palate, it was an easy drinking white wine.

Next, the 2022 Albariño (Skin Contact) from the North Canyon Vineyard in Santa Maria. As I am getting more into orange wines, I felt this was a nice, light summer wine with a slightly sour taste on the back end. It wasn’t too funky, as orange wines can get. But, it was a solid example of a skin contact wine.

Following, the 2023 Pinot Gris blend from Santa Barbara County grapes. I felt this – as well, was light and good. It was an easy drinking Pinot Gris.

Then, the 2023 Gamay / Pinot Noir blend from Santa Barbara County grapes.

This is the first wine of the tasting that made me go “Wow”. As my palate lends itself more toward reds, this was lovely. I really enjoyed the overall flavor.

When Eli poured me a taste of the 2022 Trousseau from Clos Mullet Vineyard through a Coravin argon gas based aerator,  I was impressed. When I tasted the wine, I instantly knew that a bottle was going home with me.

The 2022 Gamay from grapes from the Clos Mullet Vineyard in Los Alamos was also light and delicious. I thought about purchasing a bottle – but decided on other options.

Conversing with Eli about the  2022 “Bebida Morada” Mencia / Arinto from Riverbench Vineyard’s grapes in Santa Maria Valley, I learned that Arinto is actually not a recognized varietal.

Which led into a conversation about one of my life goals, which is to go in with likeminded investors and form a private label wine brand, using blended grapes from other wineries, rather than having one set on a dedicated space of land.

In a short time, Eli talked to me about having a virtual wine vs and brick and mortar, recommended local wine lawyers and brokers, (Brian Simas with Simas Law and Anthony Bozzano with Bozzano and Company), and educated me on how brands have to submit labels to be approved by the TTC and of the Alcohol and Beverage Commission alongside the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm governing bodies factor in. It was one of the best conversations I’ve had about the actual business of wines and winemaking.

I finished up with tastings of the 2020 Sparkling Chenin Blanc from Honey Bear Orchard and the 2021 Cabernet Franc, with grapes from the Coquelicot Vineyard.

What I enjoyed about the 2020 Sparkling Chenin Blanc is that it elevated the experience of the Chenin Blanc by adding the depth I feel was mission from the 2022 Chenin Blanc I tasted at the start.

And the Cab Franc – well, I just loved it.

As I left with bottles of the 2020 Sparkling Chenin Blanc, 2022 Trousseau and 2021 Cabernet Franc, I reflected on how much I truly enjoyed my time at Lo-Fi Wines.

Perhaps most importantly – I looked forward with sharing pours from my bottles with friends while and toasting to the joys of life.

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Lo-Fi Wines Tasting Room

448 Bell St, Unit B
Los Alamos, California 93440
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