Tasting Notes: Wine 174, barrel tasting, turkey treats & pumpkins

What’s New at the Wineries
SIERRA STARR CAB FRANC HONORED
Sierra Starr’s 2011 “Rising Star” Cabernet Franc has been named in the American Wine Society’s “21 Wines to Watch,” a high honor. A recommended food pairing was roasted lamb shanks. On November 21, Sierra Starr is hosting its annual holiday food-and-wine pairing at its tasting room in [...]

The best beers for fall in the Sierra Foothills

OKTOBERFEST IN MUNICH, Germany, attracts more than 6 million people annually who consume 1.5 million gallons of beer. Gastropubs, brewpubs and breweries in our region are all celebrating with seasonal brews and their own Octoberfest celebrations.
Loomis Basin Brewery is holding its 4th annual October-fest on October 17. The festivities include food by Ruffhaus of El [...]

Life cycle of a wine grape

BUD BREAK
The first tender buds of the growing season emerge from the dormant vine during bud break in spring. After about a month of growth, a vine will develop bunches of tiny flowers. Each flower has the potential to form a single grape berry.
FLOWERING
After about a month of growth, a vine will develop bunches of [...]

Crush: “quality over quantity” this year

WINE LOVERS MAY BE ONE OF THE few beneficiaries of the long dry spell in California, at least for one more year.
Just as every cloud has a silver lining, the drought is causing the vines to produce smaller grapes, which results in more concentrated sugars and flavors. Vintages during dry years tend to garner better [...]

Tasting Notes: Sierra Starr celebrates 20th harvest, Nevada City Winery turns 35, winery dogs

CALIFORNIA STATE FAIR WINE WINNERS
Gold-medal winners in the 2015 California State Fair Wine Competition included Avanguardia (Premiato), Double Oak Vineyards & Winery (Chardonnay), Le Casque (Sergent Dessert Wine), Mt. Vernon Winery (Cabernet Franc), Naggiar Vineyards (Sangiovese) and Nevada City Winery (Barbera).
Medal winners also included Avanguardia (silver, two bronze), Ciotti Cellars (silver, bronze), Le Casque (four [...]

Tuscan-inspired Montoliva Winery more than doubling its vineyard

SOME OF THE ORIGINAL SETTLERS OF CHICAGO Park, a bucolic hamlet nestled between Colfax and Grass Valley, were first generation German- and Italian-Americans who came from Chicago in the mid-1800s to reconnect with their agrarian roots.
The area became famous for its stone fruit, wine grapes and other fruit. In 1915, pears from a Chicago [...]

Wine and food tasting abounds in Placer County and Nevada County CA this summer

For savory eats and award-winning wines, these festivals offer eclectic tastings, hands-on cooking demos with imaginative chefs, and breathtaking venues:
SIERRA VINTNERS
SUMMER REGIONAL WINE TRAIL JULY 18 AND SEPTEMBER 26
A premier wine tasting experience from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on “roads less traveled” in Nevada and Placer Counties. The trail includes wineries that are relatively near [...]

Cab Franc: “The next big thing” in Sierra Vintners’ wines

“THE ERA OF CABERNET FRANC is nearly upon us,” Wine Spectator Associate Editor Ben O’Donnell wrote in February. “That’s the conclusion I reached after visiting wineries on both coasts last year and imbibing at not a few of Instagram’s most trending wine bars. Reader, the excitement is palpable and the smell of pepper-bramble-tobacco-olive is in [...]

Tasting Notes: Tahoe City Wine Walk, Smith Vineyard’s new labels

NOW FOUR GENERATIONS STRONG
Thirty-five years ago, Dr. Wayne Smith fulfilled his desire to farm when he planted a vineyard in Grass Valley. The winery, housed in a restored red barn, opened in 1987. Nowadays Wayne’s grandsons, the third generation, work alongside their parents, Gary and Chris, at the winery.
Gary and Chris are now honoring the [...]

Sierra Vintners’ three wine trails for as little as $18 each: May 16, July 18 and Sept. 26

THE FOOTHILLS HAVE SOME ENJOYABLE wine trail experiences on “roads less traveled”: “Grape Days of Summer” in Placer County; “Passport” in El Dorado County; and “Big Crush” in Amador County, among others.
Now Sierra Vintners, which includes wineries in Placer and Nevada Counties, has come up with an innovative plan: three regional wine trail experiences in 2015—in [...]

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