Amore for Amador

Well as you know, I do love wine. I love learning about the winemakers, the production of it, and I love tasting and exploring different styles and grapes from around the world. So when there is an opportunity to explore a wine region that I am unfamiliar with, I always say YES!

This past August I had the chance to do just that by attending the Wine Bloggers Conference in Lodi, California. I not only explored Lodi, but I took part in the “pre-excursion” tour to Amador County (south-east of Sacramento). What a gem of a region!  A wonderfully historic and beautiful area, offering boutique wineries producing amazing wine by some genuine lovely people!

So, here are some of the wineries I got to discover in Amador County and the wines I tasted:

Cooper Winery


Family Photo from World War II


Grown in the area: Persimmon, walnuts, olives, black beauty apples, pomegranate.

This is the best area for Barbera (they tell me), it does well in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada – much like the alps in Piedmont. There is no marine influence and no fog but here there is hot weather with a diurnal temperature swing (meaning hot days with cool nights) which Barbera likes. Watch for Primitivo and Sangiovese as the up and coming grapes in this area. Loved these wines!

Vino Noceto


Rusty the winemaker (seen above) loves working with Italian varieties. Their Sangiovese was rustic and delicious, definitely worth trying vs. a Sangiovese from Italy. Home run!

Scott Harvey Wines


Winemaker Scott Harvey works with Zinfandel and Barbera, but would love to start working with Tempranillo! I can’t wait to check this out when they start producing it! Until then, their wines are dee-licious.

Serafina Cellars


Paul the winemaker

They only made 600 cases of their Barbera. Which by the way was yummy, and with such a small amount produced means you need to make your way to their winery!

Bella Grace Vineyards

image-6Michael Havill from Bella Grace is the winemaker with her husband Charlie



A winemaker for 12 years, we all fell in love with Michael! She’s not just lovely but she makes a killer Vermentino! She is creative and her wines show it! I’ll be watching this family winery.

Andis Wines


Their aim? To have personality in the wines they produce. So head to the winery, because it’s gorgeous and you can try their bold reds (like the Zinfandel I had in this picture) and fun whites.

Distant Cellars


A family winery where 30% of the proceeds go towards the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Much respect for what they have created!

Renwood Winery


Joe the winemaker shared the dirt on his vineyards and his wines. He makes some fantastic Barbera (no surprise as it does well in this region) along with Tempranillo to Zinfandel. Along with one of my favourite finds of the trip: Jubilance, a sparkling Rosé made from 100% Zinfandel. Delicious!

As I have a love for Rosé wines, I gathered my wine friends at the conference to do a spontaneous video review of the Jubilance:


I hope you enjoyed my short tour of Amador County Wineries & their wines. A definite MUST for your bucket list of wine regions to explore.

Live red wine tasting – part 2!

If you missed part 1 of my recap of “Live wine tasting” at the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference in Lodi, California – get caught up: click here.

Let’s dive right in! Again, up to 12 wineries make their way around a room full of a 300+ wine bloggers. In under 5 minutes – they talk and pour and we taste and tweet!

Here are the wines I tasted and discovered in no particular order…


Processed with MOLDIV

Oak Ridge Winery – Lodi, California

Moss Roxx Ancient Vine Reserve Zinfandel – from 105 year old vines, 85% Zinfandel with just a touch of Merlot.

Wow. It was big, bold and beautiful.

as they say “expression of Lodi’s signature terroir”

Ehlers Estate Winery – Napa Valley, California

Bordeaux Blend is their flagship wine with 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot.

Organic and bio-dynamic winery, tannins were nicely balanced on this big, rich, slightly spiced wine.

Troon Vineyard –  Grants Pass, Southern Oregon

Newly released 2014 Malbec from the Rogue Valley. Not your Argentinian or Cahors, France style at all! Very floral with lots of acidity to balance the black fruits. Just 200 cases made. They also practice natural winemaking with minimal impact.


The Federalist Winery – Lodi, California

This 2014 Zinfandel is a salute to the first president of the USA George Washington. Dense, smooth and dry with a baking spice and dried cherries and blueberries. Cozy up and enjoy this one!

Windrun Wines – Santa Barbara County, California

From the Santa Rita hills this 2014 Pinot Noir was oaked with dirty tannins and big at 14.3% alc. and could stand to be cellared for a while yet! Think blackberry with some smoke and earthy minerality. Really nice!

Corner 103 – Sonoma County, California

2012 Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley

Smooth with balanced acidity, dried stewed fruits like cherries with a hint of chocolate. Quite lovely.


Prie Winery – Lodi, California

2012 Reserve Zinfandel from 100 yr old vines and a single vineyard

Balanced, smooth, notes of sherried cherries. 900 cases made.

This was a WOW wine. This is what Lodi is recognized for!

Trine Vineyards & Winery  – Sonoma County, California

2012 Henry’s Blend – a Bordeaux blend of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 13% Petit Verdot, 13% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec. Notes of green pepper, black liquorice, lingering cigar and cedar with dusty tannins. I love, love, love the note of cigar (sweet or bold) in a wine.

Peirano Estate Winery – Lodi, California

2013 “The Immortal Zin” Old Vine Zinfandel – notes of red fruits, currant jam, spring leaves and earthy undertones.

Soooooo smooth. Hand picked from 100-year-old vines.

I’ll admit, after tasting so many BIG red wines, all you crave is a cold beer! But, it was so wonderful to taste ancient vine Zinfandel to smokey Pinot, Bordeaux blends and a Malbec! Where ever you are in the world, I hope you see some of these wines at your favourite wine store, if not, it’s time to start planning your next wine trip! For more info. about the Lodi Wine Region: click here