by Fred McMillin
for December 5, 1997
Winery of the WeekMitchell's Magic Spell
Prologue: "My property contains the first post-Prohibition vineyards planted in the area. Recommendations for the original vineyard [in El Dorado County] were made by the University of California at Davis Viticulture and Enology Department as a result of groundbreaking experiments conducted there."
...Owner/Winemaker Charles B. Mitchell
The Rest of the Story: That experimental mode continues today. If you visit the Mitchell Winery, Charles will offer wines made with various designer yeasts, wines fermented at different peak temperatures, wines fermented in various percentages of new oak, etc., etc. Does all this effort pay off?
Well, not too long ago Mitchell wines were entered in a competition for the first time. Eight of the nine wines won medals including two golds. I noticed next on the awards list was a veteran winery that had submitted 11 wines and won only one silver. Clearly, Charles and consulting enologist Mark Foster know what they are doing.
Just the Facts
Postscript: About the Gold County's El Dorado (Spanish—"gilt") County, it was one of the original 27 that were established February 15,1850. The chairman of the legislative committee that created them was none other than northern California's first commercial vintner, General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo.
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