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

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Family Photo from World War II

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

Renwood Winery

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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 white wine tasting IS a thing – part 1!

Recently I attended the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference in Lodi, California. And at every conference there is a special event called “live wine tasting”! It’s a highly anticipated event! We get excited for it, we even do a pre-stretch… just to get ready! Why? Because up to 12 different wineries visit a table of 8-10 bloggers and have to pour their wine, tell us all about it and their winery. We in turn need to taste it, take notes, then do as much social media marketing LIVE as we can, before we pour the wine out and start again with the next winery. All in under 5 minutes!! Phew, it happens fast. And we are all on a mission to get great notes on each wine.

So, before I share the yummy wines I tasted and discovered, let me share a map of California so you can see exactly where Lodi is!

It’s just south of Sacramento and it has some of the oldest Zinfandel vines, but that’s not the only wine they make! For more info. on this wine region visit the website for Lodi Winegrape Commission.
Lodi wine map

map courtesy of Wine Folly


So here are my notes from the white wines I got to speed taste, the wineries were from all over (not just Lodi) – which is good, since we are there to learn about Lodi and beyond! In no particular order…

Corner 103 – Sonoma County, California

Tank fermented Sauvignon Blanc with a tropical fruit style with nice crispy acidity at the end. Just 400 cases made.

So nice – and, this was a sneak peek at this wine (you can’t find it on their website)!

Peirano Estate Vineyards – Lodi, California

Estate grown, hand harvested white wine blend of 65% Chardonnay, 25% Sauvignon Blanc, and 10% Viognier

Soft and juicy. They tried to create something different for a blend – and they did!

and we tried a second wine from them…

Hand picked, small batch Chardonnay. It was soft and buttery with a light toasted note.

Perfect pairing is a lemon pepper chicken. yummy!

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 Kenefick Ranch – Calistoga in Napa Valley, California

Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Viognier blend, Juicy, minerals, stone fruits, some zesty-ness and estate grown.

Just 300 cases made – so you’ve got to visit the winery!

Left Coast Cellars – Willamette Valley, Oregon

White wine from Pinot Noir (which means a red grape gently pressed and fermented with no skin contact)

Guess what? The family is mostly left-handed!

Estate grown – oh sooooo juicy, bright with some crispness.  oooooh and they have a sparkling version 🙂 hello!

Harney Lane Winery – Lodi, California

5th generation family winery, since 1907 in Lodi

2015 Albariño – crisp, minerals, nice acidity with a honeyed melon note. Just 700 cases made.

Oh hallelujah to old world grapes being grown in the new world. Bravo!

Oak Ridge Winery – Lodi, California

OZV Rosé is lightly pressed with 3% chardonnay.

The chardonnay offer some acidity to go with the berries the Zinfandel offers. It was fresh, crispy dry and delicious!

Oldest family operated winery in Lodi and largest Zinfandel producer in world!

And no, I didn’t mistype anything. There are many fabulous DRY Rosé wines made from Zinfandel!

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Lucas Vineyards – Lodi, California

In Lodi since 1978

We had the back vintage 2001 Chardonnay !

Chablis style and sooooo delightful with bright acidity.

This was a highlight for sure!

Bokisch Vineyards – Lodi, California

They focus on Spanish varietals. They were the first to plant Albariño in the area.

Terra Alta Vineyard Albariño 2015 is one of three they make!

Organic, salty and mineral notes with juicy lychee tree fruits. Heaven!

Definitely want to try more of their wines!

Troon Vineyard – Grants Pass, Southern Oregon

 Longue Carabine is a co-fermented white wine from

Vermentino 38.5%, Viognier 33%, Marsanne 27%, and Roussanne 1.5%.

Juicy acidity with soft zesty fruits and made au natural! A nice southern Rhone Valley style and one you must try!

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So as you can see, many different wines from California and Oregon. So open the door of your comfort zone to discover wines outside the wine regions you usually try, because there are some amazing winemakers out there making incredible wine!