Plenty of emphasis during these Farm-to-Fork Week festivities will be placed on plated dishes, but let’s not forget what goes in the glass. Wine grapes have remained a key crop around the greater Sacramento region for more than a century, and the surrounding wine country with its celebrated vintners are popular excursions for day-trippers and tourists alike.
On Thursday, the west steps of the state Capitol will play host to Legends of Wine, an official Farm-to-Fork Week event featuring pours from 27 signature local wineries along with palate cleansers of cheese and bread. Two of Sacramento’s key wine personalities acted as consultants on the event: Darrell Corti, the internationally noted gourmand and grocer with Corti Brothers; and David Berkley, who ran his David Berkley Fine Wines & Specialty Foods for 25 years and advised the White House on wine-selection matters dating back to the Reagan administration.
The wineries span a wide swath of the greater Sacramento region. From the south, in Lodi, you’ll find samples from the Michael David Winery, the producer known for its full-throttle take on zinfandel and other varietals that showcase the ripeness of sun-baked San Joaquin County. Bokisch has, meanwhile, emerged as a favorite Lodi producer for its emphasis of Spanish varietals including tempranillo and garnacha.
The white wine grape chenin blanc and inky petite sirah thrive closer to the Sacramento city limits near Clarksburg, as expressed by such Sacramento Delta producers as Bogle, Clarksburg Wine Co. and Six Hands. Corti has long championed this area for producing wines that are signature to Sacramento.
“Quite frankly, I think Clarksburg has been passed over because it’s in the Delta and too close to Sacramento,” said Corti. “Chenin blanc and petite sirah are two of the finest wines made (in the area). Everything works together, and the wines people have been making are very good.”
To the west, Putah Creek Winery of Davis bottles a variety of consumer-friendly favorites, including chardonnay, zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon. Putah Creek also bottles the less-traveled red grape tannat, and its 2009 tannat scored a gold medal and best in class at the 2013 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition. Other wineries representing Yolo County include Séka Hills, which is run by the Yocha Dehe tribe.
Sierra Foothills wineries have meanwhile established themselves as some of the most heralded of the Sacramento area’s wine country. Zinfandel has been grown in this area since the days of the gold miners, and it later was established as a hot spot for barbera and Rhône varietals including syrah, mourvedre and viognier. Sip some of these examples from such producers as C.G. Di Arie Vineyard, Madroña Vineyards and Terre Rouge.
Other highlights include New Clairvaux Vineyard, a winery run by Trappist monks in Tehama County, and midtown Sacramento’s Revolution Wines.
Two wines will be offered from all the participants, and Corti suggests taking this opportunity to be adventurous with your wine tasting.
“There’s enough to say, ‘I haven’t tasted that wine before,’” said Corti. “With 54 wines, you have to be a little prudent.”
Call The Bee’s Chris Macias, (916) 321-1253. Follow him on Twitter @chris_macias