Discover the Regions
Spain and France share two important wine grapes: Granacha (Grenache) and Monastrell (Mourvedre). Other Spanish grapes include the reds Mazuelo (Carignan) and Tempranillo, and the whites Albarino, Verdejo, Viura, and Garnacha Blanca (Grenache Blanc).
Portugal has long been famous for little more than its fortified wines (Port and Maderia) and tart, light Vinho Verde. But it is now attracting a great deal of attention for its new wave of rich table wines – particularly reds from the Douro Valley and Dao.
Amador’s climate mimics the warmer climates of Southern Europe and you will find Tempranillo, Granacha, and Monastrell. Port-style wines are also commonly produced, often using traditional Portuguese varieties.
Wine and Italy cannot be separated. To Italians, wine is as important as food, culturally. The most famous wines of Italy include Chianti, Prosecco, Soave, Amarone, and of course the “Killer B’s” Barolo, Barbaresco, and Brunello di Montalcino.
The most widely known grapes are Sangiovese, Barbera, Pinot Grigio, and Moscato.
Amador Barberas consistently bring home more gold medals than any other region in California. Sangiovese is equally well received. For summer Pinot Grigio is a local favorite and Moscato is a bright, slightly sweet sipper.
The Rhone Valley produces Syrah, Grenache and Mouvedre for red wines and Viogner, Marsanne, and Roussanne for whites, among others. Grenache is often combined with Syrah and Mourvedre to produce the ‘GSM’ blend characteristic of the Southern Rhone.
Famous sub regions include Hermitage and Cote Rotie in the north, and Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, and Tavel in the south, and the unifying regional Cotes du Rhone appellation.
Due to Amador’s soil and climate Syrah is widely produced while Mouvedre and Grenache are gaining in popularity as single varietal wines outside of the traditional GSM blends.
In 1779, Franciscan missionaries planted California’s first sustained vineyard at Mission San Diego, and the “Mission” grape dominated until the mid-1800’s.
Due to the influx of people during the Gold Rush (1848-1855) wine grape growing and wine production expanded through the northern part of the state. Plantings included Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouchet, and Carignane.
Amador County has a high percentage of old Zinfandel vines with some more than 125 years old. Premier among these ancient vines is the original Grandpere vineyard, at nearly 150 years old, planted with Zinfandel before 1869 and believed to be the oldest Zinfandel vineyard in America.