Amador Wine Day

Sherie and I drove up to the Shenandoah Valley in the Gold Country last Sunday. She had four bottles of Wine Club conumables to pick up at Amador Cellars. Of course, once there, her friends from the old days Larry and Linda made us quite welcome. Their nephew (sorry, I forget his name) told us stories of his three month long honeymoon, from Sweden to Morrocco, then central Africa (great mountain gorrilla stories), then on to Thailand and Viet Nam. Glad to hear about his adventures with his new bride; although I haven’t met her, she seems pretty adventurous.

Back to the wines: Amador Cellars makes reasonably priced wines that have distinctive terroir character. The Zins are grown right there, with the Rocky Point Vineyard (RPV) wines being a bit more “BIG” (read dry with lots of alch). The Westside Vineyards Zins are a little more “balanced” leaving a bit more fruity flavor. These wines tend to be a bit different year to year.

The Syrah Larry makes is a great value; he gets the grapes from two of his neighbors. Year to year, these have stayed pretty consistent. A great taste with a really nice finish. This is Sherie’s favorite.

Other Amador wines are also good values, but not the reason Ben likes to visit.

I asked Larry which of his neighbors are worth a visit. I said I like Big Zins, so he recommended Dobra Zemlja. Yes, great wine, all of them. But we only bought the Zin.

We also stopped at Shenandoah Vineyards, because I knew they are certified organic. I was pleased with the wine quality/value, with good everyday wines from $8 with case discount. Maybe not as relaxed in the tasting room as some places, but we bought several wines here too.

Larry recommends his neighbor Vino Noceto for Barberas in the Italian style. Sorry to say, we didn’t have enough energy, or wine budget money, or trunk space, to stop and get some.

For Rhone varietals, Larry recommends Karly. Another place for the next visit.

Anyway, a high point of our visit was a chance for a cool picnic lunch under the live oak in front of Larry and Linda’s winery. Because a storm had just cleared through Northern California, the air was crisp and clear. The north wind had blown away the haze, and we enjoyed the view of the vineyards with the leaves in color, and dropping to carpet the damp red soil. We tasted a few of the Zin grapes left on the vines to raisin: Wow! The sweetness was incredible, what a dessert. These are the grapes to make Larry’s Port style dessert wines; he will harvest the grapes soon enough.

On the drive home, the view of the Crystal Range above Tahoe was winter-white from the recent storm. The grass is greening up, the view of the coast range and Mt. Diablo drew our eyes as we drove straight into the setting sun.


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