|Winemaker Chris Pittenger, left,|
and Ryan Skinner, General Manager
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Sierra Foothill Winery Briefs: Skinner Vineyards, Laraine Winery
Where to start? I’m going to tell you about a few wineries that are high on my list, and one wine from each. Get out your GPS, and visit them. Much of this information below is drawn from their websites, by the way. Until you visit these wineries physically, why not visit their websites?
In El Dorado County, Skinner Vineyards has a wine industry heritage tracing back to the Gold Rush days. Its 2008 El Dorado “Eighteen Sixty-One” is a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah, and is patterned after the wines of the Southern Rhône. The fruit is sourced from five high-altitude vineyards in El Dorado County which range in elevation from 2,700 to 2,850 feet. This complex blend combines aromas of black cherry, blueberry, and ripe strawberry with elements of Asian spice, forest floor, and leather. Modest tannins and ample acidity create a pleasant, balanced finish for this medium-bodied wine. Bottle Price: $30
ABOUT THE WINERY: Skinner Vineyards is committed to producing exceptional wines that reflect the unique spirit of the Sierra Foothills, using some of the same Rhône varietals that were grown by the Skinner family 150 years ago. The new 12,000 square foot winery and tasting room at 2700-feet elevation in the Fair Play AVA of El Dorado County is solar powered and incorporates many greentech/environmental features. After mid-May, visit them at their absolutely spectacular tasting room, located in their Stoney Creek Vineyard, 8054 Fairplay Road, Fair Play, CA 95684. Call for hours: (310) 996 0220. You can see Pyramid Peak from the top of their mountain vineyards, where the tasting room is located. www.skinnervineyards.com
Laraine Winery, atop the rolling hills of Calaveras County, produces an explosive fruit-forward wine, the Scarlet Harlot. Named after winery owner David Gerber's B-17 Bomber in WWII, it's a blend of estate grown Syrah, Merlot, Sangiovese, and Petite Sirah. Robust with notes of currant, rhubarb, dark chocolate and blackberry preserves, it has polished tannins and lively structure. Bottle price: $22.