July 08, 2005
Check out wineries around Placerville and El Dorado, too.
Napa and Sonoma aren’t the only valleys in California. Apparently there’s also this place called Suisin Valley, pronounced in one-syllable by the locals. Although the grapes are sold for a huge percent less than it’s neighbors, family-run wineries like Wooden Valley should not be missed. Neither should this unique grape, which would be more at home in Apulia. Since only ten percent of his crop goes into his own barrels and steel casks, the maker, Rick Lanza, can introduce many different wines, a major benefit of these smaller vineyards. Primitivo is in the Zinfindel family, and apparently “flew the coop” from the Balkans in ancient times. It is an extremely potent varietal, toned down quite a bit in this version. Dark, fruit-forward berry flavors are ever-present from the first sniff to the after-taste. If you are a Primitivo traditionalist, this may be too light of a reincarnation, as the grape can easily pass the 16 and even 18 percent alcohol marks back in Italy. But this wine could still hold up paired with a bloody steak. So go! Take the road less traveled, (except by Lake Tahoe weekenders or Sacramento commuters) Venture out past Vallejo and into Solano County instead of the usual California “communes” and try a new type of grape while you’re at it.
Read more from this blogger: