Tuesday Sep 18 2012
Wine flows at Apple HillBy: Eileen Wilson, Folsom Lake Entertainer
If you thought Apple Hill was all about the apples, you would only be half right. Known for decades as the go-to place for seasonal apples and apple pies, the area has become as much of a destination for its wine grapes and tasting rooms. Names like Lava Cap and Boeger are renowned in the area for their heady wines with bold flavors, filled with nuances of spice and chocolate. Still, they offer plenty of selections that have light, summery flavors, as well. The Lava Cap Sauvignon Blanc 2010 estate wine is a blend of tropical flavors, including pineapple and grapefruit. Spencer Jones, one of the youngest members of the Lava Cap family, said his mother especially loves their chardonnay, and his dad loves all of their family wines. Lava Cap produces around 20,000 cases of wine each year, and their varieties can be found in any major supermarket from the Sacramento area to Southern California. While Lava Cap and Boeger are big producers, sometimes it’s the smaller wineries that are fan favorites. Wofford Acres Vineyards might be one of the hardest vineyards to reach, but it is said to be worth the drive. Visitors may notice a narrow lane giving way to a vista that is impossible to ignore. There, a pine-tree filled canyon rests just beyond the vineyard, where Paul and Mike Wofford took advantage of the views by setting up an outdoor tasting room. “Our La Mancha series is what we are known for,” Paul said. “We work our five acres most days, and we only produce 2,000 cases a year.” The Woffords’ wines can be found in a couple of area restaurants. Otherwise, wine enthusiasts will have to head to the tasting room to find their favorites. The 2009 Iowa Hill is a blend of zinfandel, petite sirah and syrah. This blend is described as a flavorful blend of spices, currants and a hint of cranberry. The owners said one of the vineyard’s big surprises is their hard apple cider. Dry and bubbly, the cider is a visitor favorite and perfect for the “Apple Hill season.” But don’t stop at just one or two vineyards, visitors can visit them all for a full experience. Kid-friendly Para Vi Vineyards offers a playground and Bocce Ball court, and most vineyards offer picnic areas where you can bring a lunch and purchase your favorite bottle of wine to relax and enjoy. There are lots of events going on throughout the year, and October is one of the most exciting times to visit Apple Hill vineyards as it is the start of the fall season. Apple Hill Vineyards include Madrona, Para Vi, Wofford, Lava Cap, Boeger, Jack Russell Farm Brewery and Winery, Fenton Herriott, Grace Patriot, High Hill Ranch, boa Vista Orchards, Rainbow Orchards and Honey Bear Ranch. For more information, visit applehill.com.