On April 24, Corkbar co-owner Garry Muir hosted the downtown Los Angeles wine bar’s first winemaker event and tasting with Markus Bokisch of Bokisch Vineyards. The Lodi vintner attended UC Davis to study diseased plants and started working at Phelps Vineyards in 1989, which is where he fell for the grape. He returned to school to study viticulture and moved to Catalonia with his wife before returning to California to produce Spanish varietals. The Bokisches have managed to carve out a unique NoCal niche for themselves, and it was great to be able to learn more from the man behind the label.
Before we get to the wines, it’s worth mentioning the space. Ana Henton and Gregory Williams of MASS Architecture & Design (Silverlake Wine, Bacaro L.A.) completely transformed the southeast corner of the brand-new EVO building. Corkbar co-owner Caleb Wines uses the phrase “wine country chic” to describe MASS’ design, which is understandable. Henton’s design incorporated green wine bottles into the architecture and decoratively displays rows of corks, which are stuck in the wall.
Bokisch didn’t make an introductory speech. Instead, he walked from table to table and stool to stool, taking time to answer any and all attendee questions. This was a refreshingly personal take on the typical tasting. He guided a tasting of five Spanish-varietal wines/
Each guest received a flight of five pours. I started with the 2007 Albariño, a dry white that had an inviting aroma and a light citrus quality.
2008 Garnacha Blanca was tamer by comparison, with a lighter hue and milder flavor.
Next up: 2006 Garnacha, a sweeter red. Bokisch described strawberry and cherry notes. He used 99% Garnacha grapes and added 1% Graciano skins for more complexity. Any more and it would no longer be representative of the varietal.
2006 Tempranillo had more tannins and a longer finish. Bokisch incorporated 5% Graciano grapes.
Finally, the spicier 2006 Graciano was balanced by 8% Tempranillo grapes.
The Albariño, Garnacha and Tempranillo are currently on the Corkbar menu, with two wines unique to the tasting.
The Bokisch tasting cost $15 per person and might become the first in a series. Based upon the respectable turnout, that wouldn’t be surprise, and it would definitely be a bargain given the one-on-one attention from the winemaker…if that continues.