El Dorado County: A place to return time and again
Sep 04, 2015 05:30AM
Miraflores Rose Wine
The sunlight filtered through the trees and onto the curvy road in abstract patterns as we drove through El Dorado County. Despite the drought, fields of green grass and meadows of brilliantly colored flowers filled the space between the apple orchards and vineyards that lined the highway.
On the outskirts of Placerville, we arrived at Smith Place House, a restaurant housed in a historic building that doubled as a health center. Utilitarian, but rustically elegant.
We avoided the main entrance into the restaurant and were escorted down the basement stairs and into a mine where a dark wood table was lined with bar stools and candlelight. Almost two days had passed since our ragtag group of writers and radio personalities had come together to tour wineries scattered throughout El Dorado County. We’d seen the original, historic cellar of Boeger Winery, which sits on a homestead that dates back to 1850s, walked he grassy flowered hills of Wofford Acres Vineyard, and enjoyed wine with a lunch, catered by Allez!, sitting on the weathered picnic tables that overlook Holly’s Hill Vineyards. We’d eaten hand-fired pizza on the deck of Gold Mountain Winery and Lodge at the very moment the sun sank behind the perfectly manicured vineyard it overlooks.
There’s a spirit of familiarity in El Dorado, a genuineness and authenticity that goes largely unmatched.
Still, this dinner was the exclamation point to a realization that the wine, food and people of El Dorado are all reasons to return time and again. As we passed the wines — carefully paired with prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and sophisticated melon dishes — around the table, it was impossible to ignore the spirit of collaboration among the wineries. Each winery harbors a simple and authentic approach to making wine, but on this night, whether it was the Rose from Miraflores, the Barbera from Mastroserio or the Toscanello from Nello Olivo Wines, individual winemakers poured a second glass of their competitors’ wines, sipped them slowly and complimented them genuinely.
There’s a spirit of familiarity in El Dorado, a genuineness and authenticity that goes largely unmatched. In October, a quiet flush of families mostly from the Sacramento area will come to this quiet place affectionately referred to as “Apple Hill” to enjoy the trails of apple barns that dot the county to tour apple farms and eat homemade apple pies from roadside stands. Some will get the opportunity to stop at a few of the many wineries in the area, sample the hard apple cider (a local specialty) and tour the small shops that line downtown Placerville, once known as “Hangtown” because of the numerous hangings that occurred in the county square during the Gold Rush era.
It’s a county well worth the visit.
For more information about El Dorado County Wineries, visit eldoradowines.org. To learn more about El Dorado County Farm Tours, visit eldorado.com/farm-trails.php.
Written by Amy Guerra, a criminal defense attorney practicing in Fresno. She has written for several publications throughout California and enjoys writing about the law, food, travel and all things Fresno.
Vineyards & Wineries
1709 Carson Rd, Placerville 95667
3550 Carson Rd, Camino 95709
6320 Marestail Rd, Somerset 95684
CHARLES B. MITCHELL VINEYARDS
8221 Stoney Creek Rd, Somerset 95684
3550 Carson Rd, Camino 95709
DAVID GIRARD VINEYARDS
741 Cold Springs Rd, Placerville 95667
FINDLETON ESTATE AND VINEYARD
3500 Carson Rd, Camino 95709
GOLD MOUNTAIN WINERY AND LODGE
7750 Fairplay Rd, Fairplay 95684
GWINLLAN ESTATE VINEYARD AND WINERY
Fairplay Rd, Somerset 95684
HOLLY’S HILL VINEYARD
3680 Leisure Ln, Placerville 95667
LAVA CAP WINERY
2221 Fruitridge Rd, Placerville 95667
2560 High Hill Rd, Camino 95709
7351 Fairplay Rd, Somerset 95684
2120 Four Springs Trail, Placerville 95667
MOUNT AUKUM WINERY
6781 Tower Rd, Mt Aukum 95656
NELLO OLIVO WINES
643 Bee St, Placerville 95667
SIERRA VISTA VINEYARDS AND WINERY
4560 Cabernet Way, Placerville 95667
SKINNER VINEYARDS AND WINERY
8054 Fairplay Rd, Somerset 95684
WOFFORD ACRES VINEYARDS
1900 Hidden Valley Ln, Camino 95709
4242 Fowler Ln, Diamond Springs 95619
2222 Francisco Dr, El Dorado Hills 95762
OUR FARM TABLE
311 Main Street, Placerville 95667
2021 Smith Flat Rd, Placerville 95667