Lake County – Adventure for Adults (Wine Included)

Clear Lake, background for the Lake County Wine Adventure

Clear Lake, background for the Lake County Wine Adventure

It may have been two weeks ago, but we can still clearly remember the great time we had at the Lake County Wine Adventure, a weekend of food, wine, fun, and getting to learn more about the wines and wineries from this region.  On July 28th and 29th, the 8th annual Lake County Wine Adventure took place and it may become an annual outing for us.

Adventure could be found in many ways that weekend.  If you wanted adventure in wine tasting, one of the Lake County wine region’s best features is that you can find all sorts of varietals here (Rhone, Bordeaux, Burgundian, Spanish, Italian).  Over two days, in an easily covered area, you could try everything from popular wines (Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) to less commonly found varietals (Charbono, Malbec, Muscat, Tempranillo, Sagrantino) to only-in-Lake-County offerings (Sparkling Pear Wine, proprietary blends).

If you wanted adventure in food, the 2012 Lake County Wine Adventure offered that as well.  Depending on where you went you could find cuisine from Mexico (Carnitas Tacos and Empanadas), Italy (Arancini and Crostini), Thailand (Chicken Satay), and Spain (Tortilla Espanola),   Or, you could find Pulled Pork, Lamb, or Beef Slider options at different wineries.  Fresh fruit, nuts, cheeses, chocolates, and chocolate desserts were also available. 

The Road to Six Sigma Ranch

The Road to Six Sigma Ranch

For transportation adventure, the road to Brassfield Estate Winery had a slightly intimidating, angled and curvy start off of Highway 20.  To go wine tasting at Six Sigma Ranch, the turnoff from Spruce Grove Road was easy to find but then the dirt road went on for another 2 miles over cattle grates and railroad-tie bridges before reaching the tasting room.  Boaters could simply sail across Clear Lake to arrive at the dock behind Ceàgo Vinegarden and then walk to the tasting room from there.

We didn’t make it to (or even try to make it to) all 28 participating wineries, but we did visit many of them.  Keep reading and we’ll tell you about our favorites.

Favorites at the 2012 Lake County Wine Adventure

These were our favorite wineries, wines, and food offerings at the 2012 Lake County Wine Adventure:

Brassfield Estate Winery – It took us a while to reach this glorious Tuscan estate, but we were glad we did.  This winery is well known for their proprietary blends, and we enjoyed their 2011 Serenity (a blend of Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer) and 2010 Eruption (a blend of Syrah, Tempranillo, Malbec, Grenache, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel).

Bullion Creek Vineyards – This small producer only produces wine from their own vineyard, and they were pouring a few vintages of their Cabernet Sauvignon.  We preferred their latest, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon the most.

Carnitas Taco at Chacewater Winery

Carnitas Taco at Chacewater Winery

Chacewater Winery – The Carnitas Tacos here may have been our favorite food of the weekend.  Freshly made carnitas, homemade pinto beans, salsa, and corn tortillas combined into a stellar dish enhanced by a squeeze of lime.  Our preferred wines here were the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2010 Merlot.


Gregory Graham Wines

Gregory Graham Wines

Gregory Graham Wines – This was one of the wineries offering gourmet food choices with our favorites being the Arancini with Smoked Gouda; Lake County Nachos (homemade potato chips) with Goat Cheese Fondue, Bacon, Thyme, and Green Onions; and Syrah Sliders (hamburger) with Special Sauce, Lettuce, and Cheese.  Of their wines, we enjoyed the 2008 Grenache (Crimson Hill Vineyard) the most.

Langtry Estate – Our favorite wines here were the 2011 Guenoc Lake County Sauvignon Blanc and the 2011 Guenoc Lake County Petite Sirah.  The pulled pork sliders were very tasty and we especially appreciated the spread of fresh fruit, including pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries.

Moore Family Winery – Here, the Asian Noodle Salad was a tasty treat.  Even better was that our visit to this winery exposed us to their 2009 Charbono and 2009 Malbec, two lovely wines from a broad portfolio.  The winery also has an outdoor stage that looks like a beautiful venue for live performances.

Chicken Confit Crostini at Rosa d'Oro Vineyards

Chicken Confit Crostini at Rosa d’Oro Vineyards

Rosa d’Oro Vineyards – We love coming here and our favorites this weekend were the 2010 Aglianico, 2009 Dolcetto, 2011 Muscat, and the 2010 Sagrantino.  This was another tasting room with extensive gourmet food choices including Chicken Confit Crostini with Moroccan spice, apple, and radish; Maine Shrimp Crostini with Romesco Sauce and Rouille; and Beef Flatiron Crostini with Blue Cheese, Onion, and Port as the standouts.

Six Sigma Ranch – Six Sigma did an excellent job at organizing the visitor flow for the Lake County Wine Adventurers.  Each station had a different wine and a Tapas offering selected to pair with that wine (the Tortilla Espanola was outstanding).  We liked the 2011 Asbill Valley Sauvignon Blanc and 2007 Tempranillo wines the most.

Vigilance Winery – The BBQ lamb served here had been marinated in a blend of pineapple juice, garlic, onion, rosemary, and thyme, lending some interesting flavor components to one of our favorite food offerings of the weekend.  The lamb went beautifully with the 2010 Cimarron (Spanish for “wild thing”), a red wine blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The 2011 Sauvignon Blanc was also excellent.

If you went to the 2012 Lake County Wine Adventure, we’d love to hear what your favorite wines and food options were.

Wines with AltitudeTo learn more about Lake County wineries and wine events, check out the Lake County Winery Association website.  For example, they are holding a “Wines with Altitude” event at Treasure Island in San Francisco on September 8 where you can find wine, food, music, and spectacular views of the San Franciso Bay.  Between noon and 3 p.m., about 20 Lake County wineries offering almost 100 wines can be yours for just $40 if you purchase your ticket by August 25th (and if you buy two tickets, it’s only $35 per person).




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