It was ten years ago that we first began making an annual trip to this wonderful wine country in the Sierra Foothills. Much has changed in that time, with many more wineries having been established in recent years, and very noticeable improvement in the quality of wines from this region.
Our base for our visit to the Sierra Foothills is the town of Sutter Creek. We consider it to be the best little town in the Gold Country of the Sierra Foothills. The town is quaint with many small shops, restaurants and other attractions. We make our home at the Hanford House Inn in Sutter Creek where owners Robert and Athena Gordon are very gracious hosts. On our annual trek to these parts, we always spend one full day exploring the wineries in the Fair Play AVA. It is about a 35-minute drive to Fair Play. The Fair Play AVA located in El Dorado County has the unique geographic feature of having the highest average elevation of any of the AVA’s in California. The average elevation is 2500 feet. Here are three wineries we enjoyed immensely in our visit the past week.
Cedarville is always at the top of our list of wineries to visit. Owners Jonathan and Susan are a terrific winemaking team and they put their hearts and souls into making some fantastic wines. The emphasis is on Rhone wines, and in my opinion all their wines deliver high quality at a very reasonable price point. The wines are very balanced and layered, with many delicate characteristics. The winery is open by appointment, so call ahead before visiting. We tasted through the lineup of wines and once again were totally impressed with the overall quality. I must declare that their current release of the 2009 Syrah is the best they have made, and we have tried all their Syrah vintages. The other Rhone wines in their lineup include an organically grown Viognier, a Grenache, and a Petite Sirah. They also make a dazzling Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. All wines are estate grown except for the Petite Sirah. Their Grenache has become somewhat of a cult wine and sells out quickly once released and announced through their mailings.