El Dorado County is the heart of the California Gold Rush, one of the major historical influences to westward expansion and European immigration in the mid-1800s. It was also an important home to the early days of Californian wine as many families brought vine cuttings from their native lands to create their own vineyards. Several of the first wine companies in the state developed here and along the Sierra Foothills range, but faded in importance as the population shifted to San Francisco area and the surrounding vineyards. The Skinner family established one of the first wineries and distilleries in 1861 and ran a fairly large operation for many years, but faded into an obscure fragment of history until 2006 when a branch of the family picked up the rights to the name and 'rediscovered' the vineyards. Their vineyards focus on Rhone varieties, capitalizing on the dramatic elevation changes along the Sierra Foothills to grow grapes in a variety of conditions to develop great complexity and subtlety in their many blends.
The winery's Smithereens series pays tribute to the miners of the Gold Rush using dynamite to blast out gold deposits (not the 80s band of the same name), and is built to be their more basic Cotes du Rhone style wines. Primarily Grenache with Mourvedre in support, the aromas are warm and forward with lots of spicy red berries with hints of forest floor and dark spices. The palate is where the character of the region truly shines through, with lots of acidity and texture born from the variety of elevations and soil types in the vineyard sources. It brings out more bright red fruits, even some cranberry-like tartness that keeps the fruit tones from feeling too sweet or heavy on the finish. Super polished flavors, modern and juicy, this is an exciting addition to the 'Rhone Ranger' selection in the store, great for food or easy drinking enjoyment.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!