The Sierra Foothills are as green as green gets, creeks are gushing, lakes are filling, birds are chirping, bees are buzzing and in the vineyards, buds are just about breaking. It’s time to get out of that plushy recliner, dump out your coffee and put the newspaper down. It’s road trip time. Roll down the car windows, see, hear and smell spring auditioning. If you’re a Modesto Wine Line reader, head to Jamestown. If you’re a Merced reader, make that 37 mile trek to Mariposa. Both towns have several excellent wine tasting rooms. Don’t miss Gianelli Winery in Jamestown or Casto Oaks in Mariposa. Downtown parks are available if you decide to pack a picnic and there are plenty of restaurants if you don’t. So what are you waiting for?
Spring Wine Events
Springtime weather is perfect for special wine events. If you like food, music and wine, these are must-attend events. I can’t fit all the info in this column, so jot down the dates and track them down online. April 9 is the 41st annual Columbia Wine Tasting with more than 80 wineries pouring and proceeds going to the Hospitality Management Program at Columbia College. April 22 is the 11th annual Taste of Calaveras held at the Ironstone Winery featuring local restaurants paired with Calaveras wineries. May 6 is the Amador Four Fires Festival in Plymouth. This is a one-of-a-kind food and wine event with more than 45 Amador County wineries pouring. The Santa Lucia Highlands Gala will be held at the Mer Soleil Winery on River Road in Salinas on May 20. Santa Lucia Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays will be paired with local Monterey chefs. The Navigator and I can attest that these events are first class and a terrific way to spend a day in wine country.
Six Bargain Zinfandels
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Here are six 2014 zinfandels, four from Lodi and two from Amador County. They are readily available, under $15 and a great value to price. I should mention, one took best of class, another won double gold and four scored a gold at the recent San Francisco Chronicle Tasting. The OZV (Lodi) best of class and the Zin-Phomaniac (Lodi) double gold. Golds went to Menage a Trois (Lodi), Montevina (Amador), Sobon Estate (Amador County) and Whiplash (Lodi). Zinfandel is one of my favorite reds for anything off the barbeque. These wines are available now in your local supermarket. So what are you waiting for? Get up and go. Cheers!