We never miss the opportunity to visit at least some (depends on time) of our favorite wineries in the Sierra Foothills when we are in Sacramento. There are so many. The foothills are only about 45 minutes away from Sacramento and have some truly excellent wines.
In 1992, when I judged my first California competition, we had only been able to take one day extra to visit wineries and that day was a Monday. Unbeknownst to us, none of the wineries were open on Mondays in those days. We were devastated to find that out. But through a few phone calls from one of the state competition people, many of the wineries opened just for us. It is a kindness we have never forgotten and proved to be an opportunity to make great friends and discover some pretty spectacular wine.
Here is the first of the places we always make sure to visit.
Boeger Winery (www.boegerwinery.com) – located in El Dorado county. When we first visited them in 1992, Greg Boeger, the founder, was the winemaker. The tasting room was an ancient little stone building where tall people had to duck their heads to pass through the doorway. But it had a lot of heart. Today, Greg’s son, Justin, is the winemaker, following in his father’s footsteps, and they boast a beautiful tasting room that is very classy and inviting, a testament to the success of their excellent wines. Here are some of the wines we tasted:
2006 Chardonnay – one of the nicer Chardonnays we have tasted recently. This wine is very nicely balanced with apple and honey and the right amount of oak.
2007 Sauvignon blanc – good example of the varietal. Pear, honeysuckle and citrus with the spiciness and tree fruit character found in some sauvignon blanc wines.
2006 Barbera – every Barbera that Boeger has ever made boasts gold medals and this one is no exception. It is a wine bursting of cherry, spice, and plum with a bit of raspberry.
2005 Merlot – lots going on in this Merlot. Blackberry, vanilla and a little pepper with nicely balanced oak. The tannins are soft and silky showing a nicely rounded finish.
Lot 36 Hangtown Red is a lovely blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah, Grenache and Petite Verdot. This is a lively wine with lots of character and fruit, lighter in tannin…perfect for your bar-b-cue. Just a nice easy sipper.
2004 Meritage – blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Verdot. The aromas are black pepper and caramel and the oak integration is perfect. A complex, well structured wine.