Friday, August 24, 2012

Sierra Vintners Pop the Cork in Nevada City Tasting

An interesting aspect of attending a multi-winery event in the Sierra Foothills nearby is that you get a sense of not only the currently-poured vintages, but also what the future is likely to present.  Talking to the wineries at the Nevada City Uncorked event recently, it looks like 2012 will be a good vintage.  Grapes are now well past veraison (when grapes turn from green to red) and the heat days are good.  Frost was not a problem this year, although water is.  Water is a problem in all agricultural products this year, but many Nevada and Placer County wineries have access to irrigation water.  It’s not cheap, but it’s available.  Cost of wines may be rising, but they should be good.

Jacques Mercier of Solune
From a sampling of wares from several wineries, my rave review goes to Solune Winegrowers of Grass Valley, whose Titan XIII, a Zinfandel/Syrah blend is simply scrumptious.  Winemaker Jacques Mercier teased wonderful flavors out of these grapes, resulting in a wine with refreshing berry taste of the Zinfandel and an earthiness from the Syrah.  It is smooth, with a full rich mouthfeel and a lingering finish.  A perfect wine for anything from the grill!   14.3 per cent alcohol.  $18 at the winery.   While you are there, taste the 2009 Verdelho, vinified from a zesty Portuguese grape that is summer-perfect.
Lynn Wilson, Pilot Peak

Pilot Peak Winery’s Paramour, a medium-bodied Rhone blend, is another yummy red.  This combination of Syrah, Grenache, MourvĂ©dre and Petite Sirah is nicely intense and a bit spicy, and coats your mouth with light, toasty blackberry and dark cherry flavors. At 14.5 per cent alcohol, it is $24 at the Penn Valley winery.   Winemaker/co-owner Lynn Wilson also poured a 2010 Viognier that was medium-bodied with the essence of pears, citrus and ripe melons and just perfect on a hot summer day in a Nevada City picnic-like setting.   14.3 per cent alcohol, $22 at the winery.

Bob Hilsman of Double Oak
Double Oak Vineyards & Winery, Nevada City, grows grapes on acreage near Nevada City that owners Bob and Ginny Hilsman started clearing in 1980.  Bob started as a family winemaker producing just a few barrels for friends-and-family consumption, went on to take courses at UC Davis, and in 2001 built a state of the art winery.   His best seller, the 2011 Chardonnay, is terrific.  Golden in color, smooth and well-balanced, it has a wonderful mouthfeel.  Flavors are pear, burnt toast, light citrus.  14.5 per cent alcohol.  A real deal at $12 the bottle.
Indian Springs Tasting Room,
located in Nevada City
Clavey Tasting Room,
located in Nevada City

This event, presented by the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce and the Sierra Vintners group, also showcased the following wineries:  Avanguardia, Bent Metal, Clavey, Coufos, Indian Springs, Lucchesi, Montoliva, Nevada City Winery, Sierra Knolls, Smith, and Szabo Winery.   Head over anytime to Nevada and Placer counties for some good artisanal wines!

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