by Fred McMillin
for May 26, 1997
A Cab Lab
Prologue: "The higher, cooler vineyards in El Dorado County of the Sierra Foothills can come very close in quality to those of Sonoma...The Sierra Vista Winery shows this most often."...by Bob Thompson in his "Wine Atlas of California."
The Rest of the Story: The established red wine grape of California Gold Country is Zinfandel, not the national favorite Cabernet Sauvignon. For example, 25 years ago in El Dorado County there was only one acre of Cab. However, plantings have been increasing steadily since then, and my panel is very happy about it. They gave high marks to the medium-body, medium-priced '94 Sierra Vista Cab...plenty of pop...clearly one of the best $13 Cabs they've tasted in several months.
1994 Cabernet Sauvignon, El Dorado County
Category: Highly Recommended in its price range
Postscript: The eight-county Sierra Foothills wine region is jumping. The total California harvest of wine grapes in 1996 was down 2% compared to 1995. In sharp contrast, the Sierra Foothills harvest increased 8%. Monetary return from their grapes was up a rousing 31%. Shades of the 1850's, when the area produced more wine than Napa and Sonoma counties combined.
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