The annual 'Amador Four Fires Festival' hits the bull's-eye.
Serving local Amador County wines & foods,
come enjoy wines representing four key wine regions.
Experience Iberian wines under one tent. Then Italian wines.
Now try Rhone/Southern France.
And of course, Heritage Californian wines honoring
California's wine history from the mid-1800s.
Wine sessions, pairings, gifts, local cuisine, and wine stations
at your leisure keep it fun and relaxing!
If you're up in the Foothills and panning for wine, find tickets & events details here (Link.)
Choices, choices...so many wine events to choose from!
For a look at Amador Four Fires 2018, visit my post on 4Fires 2018.
The annual Four Fires Festival hit the bull's-eye. Serving local Amador County wines and foods, the festival featured wines representing four key wine regions. Guests meandered through the wine stations at their leisure, keeping it fun and relaxing!
Experience Iberian wines under one tent. Then Italian wines. Now try Rhone/Southern France. And of course, Heritage Californian wines, honoring California's wine history from the mid-1800s.
There were so many wines to try, so many foods to taste, and so many sessions to attend, there was more to experience than you could fit in one day. But it's worth trying anyway!
Highlights of the day:
Women in Wine. This session featured (L to R:) Corinne Moore of Wine Tree Farms, Tracy Hart of Le Mulet Rouge Vineyards & Winery, Moderator Jamie Lubenko of Prospect Cellars, Dawn Martella of Karmere Vineyards & Winery, Michael Havill of Bella Grace Vineyards, and Emily Haines of Terra d'Oro Winery.
As much as I enjoy tasting wines, I love learning about wine. Four Fires offered drop-in sessions for attendees: Wine Tasting 101, Farm-to-Fork Fact or Fiction, Women in Wine, The Next Generation of Wine in Amador County, and Beer vs. Wine: a Pairing Tug of War.
I attended the Farm-to-Fork Fact or Fiction and Women in Wine sessions. In the past, I've been to wine sessions at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium, the WIX, and local wine classes. Though not as technical as industry sessions, these were fabulous. Informative, approachable, and geared for the hobbyist as well as industry minded, I'll plan my wine tasting around the sessions next year!
The Amador Four Fires is definitely a save-the-date event!
I particularly enjoyed running into winemakers I've had the pleasure of meeting from the area,
such as: Eric & Emily Hays of Chateau Davell (site) in Camino,
Emily Haines of Terra d'Oro Winery (see my post) in Plymouth,
and Mica Raas from 1850 Wine Cellars (see my post) in Sutter Creek.
Hopefully, you'll get a chance to attend the Four Fires Festival.
There is a relaxed pace to the event, yet there is so much to experience.
So choose your pace, bring a friend, and enjoy the setting.
Cheers to you and your California festival jaunts!
For an Iberian tasting from the comfort of your home, read about "Three Reds."
The 1850 line of wines is a convergence of historical California and a new outlook on wine. The yellow old-town building is representative of the area's historic past. The 1850 label is iconic Californian and hip at the same time.
1850 Wines is one of the diverse brands under the Goldline Brand of wines. Mark Wooldridge, Chief Operations Officer talked with me about Goldline. He said they “like to over deliver in the bottle.” CEO Paul Haley has a background in international food and wine distribution, international operations, consulting in agriculture and beyond. The group commissioned someone in the industry to research all of the California AVA's to see which area can produce world class wines.
After initiating a research project that took into consideration many factors such as soil, fallow land vs. land currently producing grapes, production sites, land values, ease of access and transportation, which varietals grow best and where, and even cost of bottles and materials... well, the conclusion on all quality parameters was the El Dorado County region!
The soils, climate, and terrain are conducive to Rhone and Bordeaux varietals. Amador and El Dorado County get plenty of daytime heat. The evenings cool off enough to keep the grapes from over ripening, as compared to the Sonora area which tends to stay warmer and produces wines that may be sweeter, heavier, and higher in alcohol. Which wines you gravitate towards, all depends on your style preference.
Mark said, “You can grow great fruit up here if you really pay attention. And with a great winemaker, you can make terrific wines.” With that vision, Goldline hired Mica Raas from Santa Cruz as VP of Production and Winemaking. They moved him up to the region two years ago after extending to him an offer many winemakers dream of...You make the wine and we, Goldline, will oversee the distribution, marketing, the tasting rooms and guests services.
Now Mica makes all the wines for Goldline. He oversees the vineyard development and the quality of grapes. The new 16,000' winemaking facility and lab in Diamond Springs is exclusively for production. Mica can truly focus on the quality and consistency of the wines and do what he does best: produce amazing wines.
Goldline Brand offers different brands of wines for tasters, and each line is unique.
The goal of the 1850 brand is to showcase California winemaking at its best,
with wines made from local El Dorado and Amador County fruit.
It's a big state, but there's a great value-to-product to this region.
When visiting, one can't help notice a tremendous momentum in the wine industry.
There's a passion and desire to highlight the Amador and El Dorado County regions
as premier wine destinations.
That seems to be the theme of many people in the wine industry up here,
and I think they're onto something!
Whether you're tasting wines from new winemakers on the scene,
or historic wineries, here's to your jaunt.
For another look at Gold Country wines, here's a read on the El Dorado region.
Terra d'Oro, Land of Gold in Italian, is an apt descriptor for the winery and the region. Tucked in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley, Terra d'Oro Winery is located in Plymouth, Amador County.
The Shenandoah “spice” is that certain je ne sais quoi characteristic of the wines from the region. Notes of spice, such as fennel, pepper, anise, cinnamon, and clove, add luxurious undercurrent of flavors to Terra d'Oro's wines. The Shenandoah Valley is a sub-AVA within the Sierra Foothills (which has its own AVA.) Only 10 square miles, it's roughly a tenth of Napa County, yet is a wonderland of wineries.
My visit to Terra d'Oro was hosted by Jeff Meyers, Vice President and General Manager of TDO. Jeff graduated from UC Davis in '81 after studying Viticulture and Enology, and has been at TDO for over 30 years. With that experience comes wisdom, a connection with the land, wine, and staff...and a good sense of humor.
Jeff knows the region. He strives to produce wines that reflect the terroir and cultivar, the selecting and planting of varietals in the best possible location for the desired results, in TDO's 400 acres of vineyards. Sustainable vineyard practices enhance the wine and care for the land. Additionally, he shared, there are thousands of small decisions when making a wine, like little building blocks. I imagine these decisions as one block/decision upon the other, ultimately culminating in the finished wine. "The wine in the glass is a sense of the winemaker and a sense of the place."
A European paradigm separates the region, and Jeff is enthusiastic to share how TDO's wines stand out. They are less oak focused and the oak they do use is American, French, or Hungarian and plays a supporting roll, imparting flavor vs. dominating flavor. Also, the wines are higher in acid and lower in PH. This lays the foundation for wine that's drinkable now, with food, or can be cellared or aged.
And yes, Terra d'Oro grows and produces silky, deep Zins and Barbera (that lush grape is another big player in area.) But the selections keep coming. Along with the tour, a tasting spanning eleven wines was offered; representative of DTO's beautiful lineup of wines.
You can expect TDO wines to be made with care. The barrel room is humidity controlled with 10” cement walls, and the ceilings are insulated. The temperature is kept from topping 55-60 degrees. Why would that matter to you? Well, this translates to a steady temperature and less wine evaporating from the barrel which means less waste. So you get better quality at a better price. Be pleasantly surprised by the price to value here of wines from $16 to $24.
In addition to the Terra d'Oro's line up of reds, be sure to try their whites.
Winemaker, Emily Haines, is new to the team and has a penchant for whites.
She already has plans for expanding the offerings.
I'm thrilled about this! White wines can fit right in with California cuisine.
Jeff has a passion to see the Plymouth region establish itself in the California wine scene.
Part of that is introducing tasters to what grows well in the AVA. The area is Zinfandel-centric, with over 60% of America's Zinfandel coming from the region.
“ Zinfandel is a noble varietal, grown in a noble region,” Jeff shared.
He believes Amador County Zinfandel is different from Zin grown in other appellations.
It's more structured, sophisticated, and offers the Shenandoah spices.
I hope you get to try some Shenandoah Valley spice in a glass.
Best to you on your jaunt to the California Shenandoah wine region!
To see pics and wines from the Barbera Fest at Terra d'Oro....
Join me at California Wine