This was my first jaunt into the Somerset area, and I think it's one of California's best kept secrets. Tucked in the Fair Play Viticulture Area, it's beautiful with its wide open spaces and vistas.
Shadow Ranch Vineyard offers tastings in their spacious barrel-production room for special events, as well as in their main tasting room, up the hill. Behind the scenes, Shadow Ranch Vineyards uses sustainable farming practices, organically farms their grapes, and is solar powered.
Owners Sam and Kimari Patterson run their small family owned winery. Sam has a degree in oenology and viticulture. He's hands on; from farmer to winemaker, from the vineyard to the bottle. Kimari runs the tasting room which was full of Shadow Ranch fans during my visit.
Grapes are grown under Sam's guidance. He has 30 acres of estate grapes. He also contracts with landowners and cares for other vineyards. Then, he harvests the grapes, produces his wines, and gives wine back to the landowners. A win-win for everyone.
I particularly enjoyed the tastings in the large barrel/production room.
The juxtaposition of the stacked barrels reaching up to the chandeliers
was a successful contrast in décor.
The industrial setting was highlighted with thoughtful details,
such as the beautiful cellar doors crafted by Sam's father who's a woodworker.
And the country, cowboy motif fits the place.
Shadow Ranch Vineyards makes two lines of wines.
Their Shadow Ranch line offers regional favorites such as Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and more.
The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon has a background of smoky flavors from the King Fire. It reminded me of drinking a glass of wine next to a campfire, one of my favorite summer activities!
The Sheriff line of wines is this year's addition to the Shadow Ranch lineup of wines.
These California Foothills wines are full flavored and expressive.
Budget friendly at $17 a bottle, these would make for a great house wine.
It's easy to see why their popularity has taken off in local restaurants, as well as the tasting room.
The winery served pork sliders and salad with their Sheriff wines.
The spiced and smoky flavors of the wine and the sliders complemented each other.
The barrel room setting would be perfect for a farm-style wedding or anniversary party.
Guests were smiling as the staff poured wines.
It was just a good time. That's what wine tasting is all about!
*The Sheriff Sauvignon Blanc was a lovely floral and mineral combination in the glass,
and leaned on the sweeter side.
*The Sheriff Zinfandel offered heady flavors of clove and dark cherry, and a bit of sweetness. I loved the spice to it!
*Also, look for the Sheriff Cabernet Sauvignon and Sheriff Red Blend.
Shadow Ranch has one of the best picnic areas I've seen at a winery.
The fresh air will bring out the flavors of any foods you bring!
Or, enjoy farm-to-fork local dining in Plymouth (south-ish) or Placerville (north-ish.)
The winery's wide open grassy area is perfect for families and kids—traffic free.
The Fair Play region boasts good weather much of the year.
It's a hamlet of over a dozen artisan wineries within a few miles each other.
Cheers to your Somerset wine jaunt!
Visiting the Santa Cruz area? Be sure to check out my post on Wargin Wines,
just a short drive from the beach.
Join me at California Wine