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Style El Dorado County Foothills

Sacramento Region Wineries Uncork their Secrets

08/25/2015 11:49AM ● Published by Megan Wiskus

In the intimidating world of wine, it can be confusing deciphering the proper way to taste, select a bottle, store, pour and preserve. Thankfully, area experts—i.e. local wineries—stepped in to assist with their best words of wine wisdom. 

Miraflores Winery 
2120 Four Springs Trail, Placerville

 From Orietta Gianjorio, sommelier and frequent guest at Miraflores Winery’s Pairings events     

“Summer’s best wines are refreshing, bright and deliciously versatile with warm-weather foods and casual barbecues. As the season comes to a close, reach for crisp, white wine, which is higher in acidity to refresh the palate, and reds that have fat-cutting tannins to complement grilled meats. Viognier pairs well with light dishes and enhances the flavors of lobster, scallops, grilled fish and even Chinese takeout, thanks to its pleasant minerality, floral aromas and notes of stone fruit and citrus.”

Crystal Basin Cellars 
3550 Carson Road, Camino
from Mike Owen, founder, president and el jefe  

  1. “When it’s hot—Rosé is hotter! We’re not talking about the sticky-sweet stuff, but a dry, strawberry-scented cool quaff.”
  2. “Store your wines on their sides or upside down. That way, the cork won’t dry out and you ensure better aging potential for those special wines you’re storing for a special date in the future.”
  3. “Bring a cooler when you go wine tasting in the summer. It will protect your special finds from heat damage (from being in a hot vehicle), since even a short heat burst can harm your wines.”
  4. “Don’t rinse your glass with water during a wine tasting session. It changes the pH in the glass (not for the better!) and adds just enough water to the following wine you’ll taste to make that wine seem like an ice cube has been added. Rinse with wine instead.”

Mellowood Vineyard
2979 Mellowood Drive, Fair Play
from Linda Neal, vintner

  1. “The back label tends to tell where the wine has been bottled, but the word ‘estate’ may only be used if 100 percent of the production, growing to bottling, is done on the same estate.”
  2.  “If you don’t have a wine cellar or cooler, don’t store bottles in the refrigerator, as this will dry the cork. Try storing wine between the sheets of your linen closet, as it tends to stay very cool.”
  3. “Instead of expensive spray products to remove wine, buy Barrel Clean from any winemaking supplier. A small amount in hot water will soak away any wine stain better [than the spray products], and for a fraction of the cost.”
  4. “If you enjoy wines from a particular area, look for bottles that have declared that area on the front label, indicating where the grapes are grown. Certain areas have been granted an AVA (American Viticulture Area) designation, because they have demonstrated they have unique growing conditions. Many wineries buy grapes from other areas, so the information regarding the winery may not tell where the grapes are grown.”

Scribner Bend Vineyards
9051 River Road, Sacramento  

 from cathryn brannon, assistant winemaker

  1. “The grapes hanging on the vine right now will make up the 2015 vintage. ‘Vintage’ refers to the year that the grape is harvested.”
  2.  “If there’s a year printed on the label, it’s a vintage wine, which means it’s primarily made of grapes grown and harvested from that specific year.”
  3. “When the grapes are on the vine they’re referred to as a ‘variety,’ similar to having different varieties of apples (i.e. Fuji, gala, Granny Smith). A varietal is a wine made from a single specific variety of grape.”
  4. “A wine with ‘estate bottled’ printed on the label means that 100 percent of the wine came from grapes grown or controlled in the same viticulture area and that they were crushed, fermented, aged and bottled on their premises in a continuous process.”

Michael David Winery
4580 West Highway 12, Lodi 
Michael Phillips, Owner And Ceo; Melissa Phillips Stroud, V.p. Sales And Marketing; Dave Phillips, Owner And President

  1. “It’s a common myth that only green grapes are used for white wines, and red grapes are used for reds. Some people are surprised to learn that you can make white wines from red grapes, such as Pinot Noir!” —Michael Phillips
  2. “On one of our famous Central Valley summer days, stick a bottle of red wine in the fridge for about 45 minutes, just prior to serving it. This allows just enough chill to set in, so the wine can sit out for a while without getting warm and keeps the wine’s flavor profile where it should be, instead of falling flat due to heat.” —Melissa Phillips Stroud
  3. “We believe there’s no ‘proper’ way to experience a good wine—however you choose to open a bottle or taste your wine is fine by us, just as long as you enjoy yourself!” —Dave Phillips


Wilson Vineyards & Muddy Boot Wine
50400 Gaffney Road 
Clarksburg  |  916-744-1456
from David Ogilvie, vineyard manager and winemaker 

  1. “When ordering wine at a restaurant, the best values are the red blends. This is where the winemaker gets to make their mark showing how the resulting wine is greater than its parts.”
  2. “Use the wine stewards in stores and restaurants—it’s free advice. If you see them regularly, they’ll keep a memory of your likes and dislikes and will lead you to better wine.” 
  3. “Decanters aren’t just for expensive red wine—they work great at softening a cheaper Cabernet too and will bring out a lot of fruit in a wine.”
  4. “Unfinished red wine doesn’t need to go into the fridge, unless you know that it will not be finished within 48 hours. If you’re going to finish the bottle the next night, leave it on the counter with a stopper.”

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