Erik Neilson on March 26, 2017 0 Comments Anyone who has ever driven across America knows that the country is filled with incredible vistas and sights that beg to seen. California’s Sierra Foothills fall into this category splendidly, and wine lovers have a lot to gain from learning more about the area. The epicenter of the California Gold Rush, the Sierra Foothills region is full of wineries, many of which are putting out some of California’s best products. Not familiar with the Sierra Foothills region of California? There are plenty of stellar wines from the AVA that can serve as great starting points — here are a handful of our favorites. 1. Terra d’Oro Winery Amador Zinfandel Zinfandel is one of the more widely grown grapes in the Sierra Foothills region, chiefly because of how well the grape does in the area’s climate. Shallow granite topsoil, combined with hot days and cool evenings allow the grape to thrive, and there are few better ways to experience California Zinfandel than with a bottle of Terra d’Oro Winery Amador Zinfandel. This wine is savory in both taste and texture, with grippy tannins that allow for the presence of plums, blackberries and stewed dark fruits to emerge. Though rich, the wine is extremely well-balanced, having been aged for 16 months in Hungarian, French and American oak barrels. The finish is smooth, with hints of cassis and vanilla. A perfect barbecue companion if there ever was one. 2. Sobon Estate ReZerve Petite Sirah Much like Zinfandel, Petite Sirah happens to do very well in the Sierra Foothills region of California, and Sobon Estate’s ReZerve Petite Sirah is the wine to buy if you’re interested in seeing for yourself. Dark purple in color, this wine is essentially opaque, showing a preview of the rich, bold flavors to come. On the nose is licorice, vanilla and the hints of smoked meat so typical of Petite Sirah. Toasty oak-laden red fruits dominate the palate, supported by cassis, currants and velvety tannins. This wine has a beautiful texture, which leads to a surprisingly long and satisfying finish that does not disappoint. At only $25/bottle, Sobon Estate ReZerve Petite Sirah is a veritable steal and should be sought out by collectors. 3. Ironstone Vineyards Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon typically gets all the gusto in California, and for good reason — the grape can produce marvelous wine when grown on America’s West Coast. It’s parent grape, Cabernet Franc can be just as incredible when treated properly, and Ironstone Vineyards knows how to approach the wine like few others. Technically 85% Cab Franc bolstered by 15% Cab Sauv, Ironstone Vineyards Cabernet Franc is medium-bodied and extremely well-balanced. Expressing aromas and flavors of dark red fruits, bright berries and light spice, the wine transitions nicely into hints of fresh herbs and Bing cherries. Raspberry, vanilla and oak characterize the finish, which makes this wine an excellent pairing for roasted meats and fruited sauces. 4. Terre Rouge Easton Syrah From the High Slopes of the Sierra Foothills, Terre Rouge Easton Syrah expresses exactly what one might come to expect from a wine grown at relatively high altitude. The production method is what sets this wine apart, as all of Terre Rouge Easton wines are fermented in small lots with special yeast strains and are barrel-aged for 20 months in French Oak. This Syrah features racy aromatics and all of Syrah’s hallmarks — smoke, spice, white pepper and game meats are present in spades. Pulling in 91 points from The Wine Enthusiast, there’s a reason why this bottle typically sells for at least $40. Still, the price is more than worth the quality of the product. 5. Boeger Winery Meritage Reserve Single-variety wines are quite popular in the Sierra Foothills, but it’s difficult to beat the complexities offered by an aged Meritage blend. Dominated by Cabernet Franc and supported by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot, Boeger Meritage Reserve starts with an aroma of currants, plums and white pepper. It’s cedar-like start opens up to a supple, well-structured palate of sassafras, boysenberry and cassis, all supported by a persistent acidity that doesn’t let up. The finish on this wine is firm and slightly chalky, which makes it highly drinkable and as complex as a Meritage should be. 6. Cedarville Vineyard Estate Grenache Cedarville Vineyard’s Estate Grenache is heralded as being one of the best wines the Sierra Foothills region has to offer. With a beautiful ruby red color, the wine opens with aromatics of strawberries and ripe cherries, transitioning quickly into a waxy, orange peel-centric palate. Dark cherry flavors join the fold, melding spices and toasty oak together into a richly integrated tannic mouthfeel. The 12% Syrah added to this wine also gives it a fair bit of meaty smoke, which lingers in the finish. Fans of Grenache or Garnacha will find plenty to love here, and since bottles can be purchased for only around $25, this wine would be ideal for cellaring away. 7. C.G. Di Arie Rose Di Arie Deep, bold reds no doubt characterize the Sierra Foothills, but that’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of lighter wines to choose from. C.G. Di Arie’s Rose Di Arie is a great example, and a stellar Rosécoming out of the area. Grenache, Syrah, Tempranillo and Zinfandel combine to create this dry Rosé, which bursts with flavors of apricot, peach and pineapple. It’s crisp, clean finish is supported by a great deal of minerality, allowing it to linger on the palate for quite some time after each sip. Perfect for drinking by itself on a hot summer day, this Rosé would also pair beautifully with soft cheeses. 8. Miraflores Tempranillo Miraflores Tempranillo is an exquisite representation of the grape. Light in body, it’s very well-structured and features flavors reminiscent of crushed violets, plush plums and sweet vanilla. Chocolate and rosemary dominate the mid-palate, making this a unique amalgamation of sweet and savory that finishes as dry as can be. An ideal wine for drinking alongside a paella or egg frittata, and one that won’t break the bank—the 2012 vintage sells for only $30.