The Sierra-Oro Farm Trail, like the North Sierra Wine Trail, is quite the North State event. There are many wineries and farms on the trail – 22 stops altogether – so it makes it difficult to see everything in the two-day schedule. So, we had to prioritize. We covered most of the Chico area today. Here’s a rundown of what we did.
Mooney Farms – This w as our starting point, and it was a good thing. We got in lunch from all of the samples they offered. Bella Sun Luci, makers of sun-dried tomatoes and olive oil had a plethora of samples for us to try. Out of their samples, we liked their Rustico Balsamic Olive Oil, Rustico Garlic Olive Oil, and Regular Olive Oil as well as the butternut squash – sun-dried tomato risotto they offered.
They also had Skylark Ranch there serving their pomegranate products. Their pomegranate fruit spread and grenadine were quite delicious.
The Basque Norte Marmalade was really good. As was the Brannen Gourmet Pepper Sauces and barbeque sauces. We also enjoyed the California Habanero Blend sauces.
Odyssey Winery and Vineyards – We’re no strangers to Odyssey’s wines. We were there a few months back, and we enjoyed their selection. This time, we tried two new ones. Their Cabernet Sauvignon was very nice, fruity, light, and oakey. Their Fidieux was a very robust version of a rose wine. It is a Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon mix and was very good.
Emerald “C” Vineyards – This is a newer winery in the area. The history of the vineyard (it’s where Errol Flynn hung out during his Robin Hood filming days) is more fascinating than the wines, which were okay.
New Clairvaux – This winery is a local favorite, and they produce, consistently, very good wine. We were just there a few weeks ago and tasted the same wines. Their wines come strongly recommended.
Roney Wines – This was quite a find in terms of their Cabernet Sauvignon wines. We started off by tasting their 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel from Butte County. The wine had a tight nose, and had notes of sour cherry. It was slightly smokey, spicy, and tannic, and it had a finish of red pepper flakes. ($17)
The 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel from Amador had a fruity, tight nose. It was sweeter and smoother and had a vanilla and cloves finish. ($20)
The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon barrel tasting had notes of vanilla and cloves. It was a very young wine, but it was also very good. I look forward to seeing how this one ages with time.
The 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was tanic and smoother with a blackberry finish. ($38)
The 2010 S&P 500 Napa Wine was a sweet dessert wine. It was dry for a desert wine and had milk and dark chocolate notes.
Maisy Janes – This is a neat little store. They have almonds, marinades, and a lot of local organic goodies.
Bertagna Son Kissed Vineyards – This is a family-owned winery, and they do great wine. We love their Sangiovese Rose.
2011 Pinot Grigio ($11) – Crisp, apples, some spices – overall, it’s sweet and yet very balanced.
2010 Sangiovese Rose ($11) – Apples, almost a bubbly wine – spice, oregano and basil finish.
2010 Sangiovese ($14) – This one has a buttery nose and olive oil notes. It was light with a cherry and raspberry finish.
2010 Barbera ($14) – This wine was spicy, and tasted of dark blackberries and apricots. It was big and bold.
2009 Petite Sirah ($16) – This one was sweet with notes of butter and spice. It had a red onion and basil finish.
2008 Vino Rojo ($16) – This wine was a Barbera and Cabernet Sauvignon mix. It was smokey and had a spicy nose as well as notes of paprika.
2008 Vino Dulce ($20) – This wine was sweet, but not too sweet. It was quite enjoyable.
Gale Vineyards – This was our last stop on the first day of the tour. After Bertagna, it’s hard to compete. Their winery is gorgeous. There were two weddings going on there at the time, and with good reason. Here are my notes from the tasting.
2011 Sauvignon Blanc ($12) – This had a wet dog nose. After swirling, it dissipated some, and it was a light and easy drinking wine with notes of citrus and grapefruit you expect from a Sauvignon Blanc.
2011 Rose di Primitivo ($12) – This wine had a tight nose. It was watermelon and paprika with notes of cumin and oregano. It would be a nice summer picnic wine.
2009 Temperanillo ($16) – This had a burnt coffee and smoke nose. It would pair well with brats. It had a hazelnut/almond finish to it.
2010 Primativo – This had a nice color. It had notes of almonds and walnuts and Italian seasoning or Herbes de Provence. It would pair well with salami or sourdough with tapenade.
2010 Melage – This wine was 50% Petite Verdot and 50% Primativo. It was okay, but frankly, we had a lot better wines on the trail.
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – This one had a fruity nose with strawberries. It was a bit jammy with a vanilla finish. It would go well with teryaki steak.
We definitely made out like bandits after our first day on the farm trail. Here’s a preview of the goodies we brought home with us.