Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sierra Foothills/El Dorado Wineries Roll Out the Fall Color Carpet After Good Harvest News

How glorious is this?  Visitors to El Dorado County have a feast for their eyes right now, just as they will have a futuer treat for their palates with the 2012 vintage.
Holly's Hill Vineyards,
Placerville, CA

Chaim Gur-Arieh, winemaker/proprietor at C.G. Di Arie Vineyard & Winery in Mount Aukum, El Dorado County/Sierra Foothills, CA, welcomes visitors to his vineyards during harvest and afterwards to experience the wonderful fall colors in the Sierra Foothills.   He's kept a harvest journal to share, and these remarks are part of that: 
Chaim Gur-Arieh in his
Mount Aukum vineyards
"Our experience with this year’s harvest was quite different. We still had a cool and rainy early summer which progressed into more normal weather in July and a heat wave that lasted several weeks in August. Harvest started the first week in October which was a couple of weeks later than normal. While everyone was rejoicing from the bumper crop they received, for the most part our yields were considerably lower than last year. As for quality – my first impression is that this will be a memorable vintage. "

Other El Dorado wineries also offer the visitor some incredible fall color right now.


Grace Patriot Wines,
Placerville, CA
(photo by Trevor Grace,
Assistant Winemaker)

Chevalier Winery,
Shingle Springs, CA

Baiocchi Wines,
Fair Play, CA

Lava Cap Winery,
Placerville, CA

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fall Colors Lure Visitors to Sierra Foothill Wineries/NEVADA COUNTY

Thanks to Jacques Mercier of Solune Winery, Grass Valley/Nevada County, we are all reminded that "There's nothing like a vineyard to bring nature's seasonal changes to life."

Solune Winery, Grass Valley
Sierra Foothills

"The vineyard has finished its job for this year, getting its post-harvest irrigation soak and starting to show some Fall colors (red foliage for red grapes and yellow for white grapes), with some Sierra summits peering from a distance and tall pine trees standing guard (not a bad vista to wake up to). Soon it will go dormant and eventually get a pruning "haircut" over the Winter, to wake up ready for action in the Spring and ripen yet another harvest next Summer."

Visitors in the Vineyard,
Pilot Peak Winery, Penn Valley, CA


Smith Vineyard & Winery,
Grass Valley, CA


Penn Valley Vineyards,
Penn Valley, CA

Lucchesi Vineyards & Winery,
Grass Valley, CA

Naggiar Vineyards,
Grass Valley, CA

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

El Dorado/Sierra Foothills Wineries Allow Consumers to "Sample the Sierra" at Lake Tahoe Event

As you read this, Sierra Foothills vineyards will be almost done with harvest, and winemakers are looking at the sugar content of their juice, deciding whether to add this yeast or that, ferment cold or otherwise, and filter or not.   So many decisions go into producing an excellent wine, but if the wines poured at the 3rd annual Sample the Sierra event held in South Lake Tahoe in September are indicative, the wines will continue to be good.

Sample the Sierra is a cooperative effort of El Dorado County organizations, growers, producers and businesses to increase awareness of the region’s bounty, heritage, culture and activities.   A great addition this year was the Rotary Club of South Lake Tahoe booth that enabled tasters to join the wine clubs of the various wineries.

Colibri Ridge winemaker,
John Alexander
 I started my tasting at Colibri Ridge, a winery located in the Fair Play area of El Dorado County.  Winemaker John Alexander poured his 2005 Mouvedre, with grapes sourced from the Helen Robin vineyard in Fair Play.  It’s a big fruity and spicy Mourvedre, and was rated as the best Mourvedre from the Sierra Foothills at the 2006 California State Fair.  15.2 per cent alcohol.  $22.00/bottle.   John was not pouring his white ports, one from Viognier, one from Chardonnary, but if you go to the winery, I suggest you buy those dessert wines too: perfect for the  upcoming holidays!

Rowena Pegg from the Beach Grill,
South Lake Tahoe, pours
Toogood Estate wines
Another Fair Play winery, Toogood Estate, poured a teaser of a red blend named Foreplay.   Malbec, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc all combine to make a nicely tannic and provocative wine.  Winery owner Paul Toogood calls this his signature wine.  13.9 per cent alcohol, $30/bottle.  Lakeside Beach Grill in South Lake Tahoe serves this and other local wines.

Ravel Haynes poured for Shadow Ranch;
Sam Domingo, winemaker for
Wilderotter stopped by
Shadow Ranch Vineyard, located on Fair Play Road in Somerset, El Dorado County, poured its new red blend, Sheriff,  which comprises 65 per cent Zinfandel and 35 per cent Syrah.  This is a non-vintage blend, and great with the spicy food from Latin Soul restaurant.  14.5 per cent alcohol, $15/bottle.

Bill Gunn, assistant winemaker at Jodar Vineyards & Winery, Placerville, poured his 2010 Chardonnay.  It has a nice Citrus on the nose with notes of grapefruit and lemon on the palate.  14.4 per cent alcohol, $18/bottle.
Diane Stading , co-owner of
Auriga Wine Cellars, pours their
2009 Red Giant blend

Auriga Wine Cellars of Placerville poured its 2009 Red Giant, a blend of 50% Zinfandel, 25% Merlot and 25% Syrah.  It has fruit tones of black cherry, plum and spice with a hint of vanilla on the finish.  14 per cent alcohol, $16/bottle.