Appetizers
July 30, 2011
Going on Placer wine tour? Take a tip from Mike Dunne

Jocelyn Maddux at the Placer County Vintners Association sent a note to remind us about next weekend's Grape Days of Summer that takes wine lovers on a tour of seven different wineries near Auburn, Lincoln and Newcastle.

If you decide to take the tour, we suggest you pay $25 here rather than $35 at one of the wineries. The ticket price gets you tastings at each location, food, music and educational activities, plus a special event wine glass.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 6-7. The featured wineries are Casque Wines, Wise Villa Winery, Dono dal Cielo Vineyards, Fawnridge Winery, Lone Buffalo Vineyards, Mt. Vernon Winery and Viña Castellano Vineyards.

This list got me wondering: Has longtime wine critic and former Bee reporter Mike Dunne written up any wines on this tour? It turns out there was one that had won his praise, so this one or later vintages of this varietal would be a "don't miss" if you head out on the tour.

Viña Castellano: 2005 Placer County Tempranillo
Dunne's words: This release "... is a big and richly flavored take on the varietal with a round build, tolerable tannins and an intriguing spiciness.

"Those notes of pepper likely come from the 12 percent monastrell that (co-owner Teena) Wilkins and consulting winemaker Derek Irwin added to the tempranillo. Wilkins also blended in 8 percent garnacha to brighten and intensify the fruitiness of the final wine. The wine won a gold medal two years ago at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition in Cloverdale.

"The winery's 2006 version of the wine, to be released when inventories of the 2005 dwindle, probably soon, also is an assertive interpretation of tempranillo, with a bit more complexity and more oak influence than is apparent in the 2005."

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