Eldorado – Amador Wine Tour
by DeArmond Sharp
Early Saturday morning (7:20 a.m.), on September 19, 2015, BMWs with enthusiastic drivers and 15 restless passengers met to begin the Sierra Chapter Annual Eldorado/Amador Wine Tour.
The group departed on schedule at 8:15 a.m. and headed for its first stop three hours later at Cooper Vineyard, Plymouth, California. The route took the drivers through Carson City, from there to Jacks Valley Road for a pleasant drive through the countryside on the west side of the Carson Valley, and from there on Route 88 over Carson Pass including spectacular views of Caples and Silver Lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
We arrived on schedule at Cooper Vineyard where we were privileged to taste nine of the wonderful wines that Cooper produces, including the Barbera for which its renowned in Amador County. In addition to the wine, Cooper provided cheese and crackers to wet our appetites for lunch.
From Cooper Vineyard the group proceeded a short distance to Terra d‘Oro Montevina Winery for our lunch stop. By prearrangement, the Amador Vintage Market had delivered box lunches for those who purchased box lunches others brought their own. Villa d’Oro has a beautiful facility for picnicking which they graciously permitted us to use. It is currently the site of the Barbera Festival which is held in Amador County in June of each year.
Following lunch we enjoyed tasting the Villa d’Oro/Montevina offerings before proceeding to our next stop at Vino Noceto. We were treated to a tasting of the Vino Noceto signature Sangiovese (3 distinct styles) in their outside patio. The weather was sunny and warm and a few participants gave up on wine tasting and checked in at the Shenandoah Inn for a dip in the pool.
After Vino Noceto we made a short drive to Terra Rouge and Easton Winery. We were fortunate to be there on Terra Rouge’s Syrah festival weekend and were treated to a sampling of nine styles of Syrah made by the Terra Rouge Winemaker who is known as the “Rhône Ranger.” Who knew there were that many styles of Syrah?
The final stop of the day was Dobra Zemlja’s beautiful grounds with an underground tasting room. Dobra Zemlja is owned by a Croatian winemaker who specializes in big Amador reds, no light weights. At the conclusion of the last wine tasting, we all checked in at the Shenandoah Inn for a short rest prior to the evening events at the Shenandoah Inn pool patio. While checking in we encountered friends from the Reno Porsche Club who were also staying at the Shenandoah.
We all (except two couples who went to a concert at Helwig Winery) gathered at the pool side patio for heavy hors’ devours, pizza purchased by the Club and other appetizers. Everyone brought a bottle of wine to share. The balance of the evening was spent with good friends enjoying the favorite bottles of wine the Hors d’oeuvre platters that were delivered by the Amador Vintage Market and pizza from the Pokerville Market
As is traditional, the next morning the hearty wine tasters had the option of enjoying a robust breakfast at the Dead Fly Diner and then proceeding for additional tastings at other wineries , enjoying the Amador Flower Farm or returning home.
The tour was enjoyed by all and included four wineries that we had not previously visited. We are all looking forward to the 2016 version of the tour.