E Wine of the Week
By Bruce Cochran
Inland wineries produce tasty offerings
This week we’re searching for bargains again, without sacrificing quality. Of the many fine regions of California, there’s still a place that is relatively undiscovered by many wine lovers, and we’ll take a look at it.
If you’re in Little Rock on Aug. 6, that is the date for our next eWine Sampling, at Cajun’s Wharf. Taste five wines, which I’ll recommend in my August E Wine columns, plus a welcome wine upon arrival. The cost is $10. No reservations needed, just drop by and taste at your own pace. Go to brucecochran.com for details.
Try a new wine this week!
This week we’ll travel to a California wine region that, in my opinion, deserves more attention than it’s been getting. I’m talking about the Sierra Foothills, just about the only major California wine region that isn’t near the coast.
The foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains are far inland from Napa and Sonoma. In fact, the vineyards there are probably closer to Lake Tahoe. The climate becomes noticeably hotter as you leave the coastal areas and drive across the interior of California. Once you start climbing the Sierra Foothills, the air get cooler again. That’s good for wine grapes.
You can find the usual chardonnay, cabernet and merlot there, but what many wine lovers find exciting about this region is how well other grape varieties do. Zinfandel was probably the area’s first claim to fame, then Barbera, and now many Spanish varieties are grown.
The wine world involves real estate, and we all know the importance of location. The Sierra Foothills offers wine fans the combination of a great location for wine grapes, with a less famous location than other regions, which means better prices.
One winery that I’ve noticed offers very good wines for very fair prices is Stevenot. From their smooth, deeply colored cab to their innovative Spanish varieties red blend “Roja” (a previous eWine recommendation, the name resembles “Rioja”), I’ve become a fan and am happy to recommend their wines. Most retail for under $20.