Today’s trek on the North Sierra Wine Trail involved stops at five vineyards, plus revisiting Hickman Family Farms. We started at Lucero and wrapped our way around Oregon House before heading back through Bangor and Oroville on our way home.
At Lucero, the Cabernets were the stars of the show.
Lucero Vineyards and Winery can be found all the way out in Dobbins, California. The real winners of the tasting at this vineyard were the Cabernet Sauvignon wines. We tasted ten of their wines, starting with their 2009 Chardonnay. This wine was very fruit forward and dry, it was almost reminiscent of a Sauvignon Blanc. Next, they poured their rosé for us. This was created from their Merlot grapes. This wine was nutty and had hints of citrus – especially grapefruit and lemon/lime. Then came the Merlot. The first Merlot was the 2006, and it was peppery, and had some spice and weight to it. We noted hints of paprika in the tasting. The 2006 Reserve had a tight, aromatic nose, and gave off hints of blackberries in the tasting. IT was sweeter than the first. The Paulina 2008 was a mix of 55% Cabernet Sauv. and 45% Merlot. This had a tight nose and was very smooth.
This cab was absolutely amazing, and it stole the scene from cabs we tasted the rest of the day.
We tried five different Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The first was the 2002, it was the first cab they made. It was smokey and sour but light. The 2003 was definitely worth it. We brought two bottles of it home with us. It was much stronger and very smokey and cloves were noted. There also was a hint of vanilla. Note that this wine has a lot of sediment in it. The 2004 had a fruity nose. It was a mix of raspberries and bold pepper. If you enjoy steaks marinated in spice, this would make a good pairing for you. The 2006 was another scene-stealer. It was easy drinking, toned-down, and smooth. Paprika came forward a lot in this wine. The 2008 was very young, and after it develops for a while, the flavors may be better. We found it sour and bitter on tasting. Grant EddieTo get to Grant Eddie’s tasting (and the Renaissance Tasting) one had to go into a large estate decorated with gold figures. The lavishness of the estate added to the tasting experience. The tasting room was absolutely filled to the hilt – and for good reason! While the two wineries did their tasting together, I will discuss our experience of each separately.
- 2011 Rosé – this wine was really nice. It had that cigar box feel to it, and it was very rich. Don’t mistake this wine for a light wine that goes with lighter food, it can handle boldness!
- 2011 Chardonnay – This was smokey, robust, and oaked.
- 2009 White Pearl – This wine was spicy and had hints of basil. It was already in our cellar, but we tasted it again anyway – and WOW!
- 2011 Semillon This wine was lemony with a hint of spice.
- Both the 2008 and 2009 Grenache wines seemed to be a combination of rubber mallet and spice, however, the 2006 grenache-syrah was very nice. It took the best parts of the grenache and melded it with the best parts of the syrah – the 2007 Syrah was very sweet and had notes of chili powder to it.
- The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon was peppery, sweet, and jammy but in a good way. There were notes of cayenne pepper to this one.
- The 2010 port was very very nice and honey-like. The Grant Eddie port is a traditional Portuguese-style port.
Renaissance and Grant Eddie’s Tasting Was Here
The Renaissance Vineyard and Winery tasting was also superb. It’s amazing, because this winery has a lot of rumors surrounding its inception. Regardless of the rumors, they make amazing wine. We started with the 2007 Semillon (60%) and Sauvignon Blanc (40%) blend called “Carte D’Or.” This wine was amazing. It was light, peppery, and easy drinking. This is the wine you serve when you grill up some white fish and you want to hang out in the back yard watching the ripples in your pool with a light summer breeze on you. It was amazing.
We then moved on to the 2002 Zinfandel. This wine had hints of nutmeg, pepper, allspice, and bell pepper, and it was also a very nice wine. From there, we moved to the 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was at its peak when we tried it. It had notes of plum and blackberry, and it would pair quite nicely with a holiday ham.
The 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve left me with a sense of wanting something more. Many individuals tasting the wine really enjoyed it, however, I found it on the bitter side.
Following the reds, we were able to taste two wines that were just amazing – both were late harvest wines. The 1999 Late Harvest Semillon was like a delicious almond croissant. In addition to the hints of almond paste and apricots, the wine had a honey nose, and wasn’t too sweet. It would pair well with flan or crème brûlée.
The last wine was the stunner. This was the 1985 Late Harvest Riesling. That’s right – a 1985 wine. It smelled of whipped cream. On the tasting, it was a nutty amaretto flavor. It was absolutely amazing, and we have a bottle of it in our cellar waiting for the right occasion.
Clos Saron’s vineyards are mostly Pinot Noir grapes
After leaving Renaissance, we headed for Clos Saron. The vintner has been involved in different aspects of the winemaking business. He allowed us to taste three of the wines offered. While we weren’t taken with the wines offered, we could see that he had a love viticulture.
The 2011 Tickled Pink was a rosé. The wine was quite light and dry and had grapefruit notes. The 2010 Deeper Shade of Blue had a nice nose – almost like a cinnamon roll. It had bell pepper and feta cheese notes on the tasting. The 2007 Heart of Stone was smokey and had hints of blue cheese and parsley. My regret about this vineyard is that we didn’t get to sample what Clos Saron is known for – their Pinot Noir. These were all blends of grapes.
While Bangor Ranch Vineyard didn’t have any releases to share with participants, however, they did have two wines that were made for personal consumption that were phenomenal. The Syrah was amazing. We really look forward to seeing what they do in the future.
If you participated in the North Sierra Wine Trail, what were your impressions? Did you have any wine favorites? Share your experiences in the comments.