Flavor science enhances Sierra Foothills winery.
It was a pleasure stopping in again at C.G. DiArie Vineyard & Winery while in the Sierra Foothills. The winery operates a tasting room in Amador County on Shenandoah School Road, but instead of going there, our small media group slipped north into El Dorado County to the vineyard (42 acres planted on a 209-acre parcel) and production facility, which also has a tasting room and patio. Vintner-winemaker Chaim Gur-Arieh gave us a winery tour before tasting us through several finished wines. His wife and winery partner, Elisheva, couldn’t make the session, though her presence was felt through her several paintings gracing the walls.
Kinder, Gentler Extraction
Chaim is a commercial flavor specialist going back decades. He applied his expertise to winemaking by developing what he calls a “submerged cap fermentation tank,” a kinder, gentler method of extracting flavor that he likens to a French press coffee system (albeit mechanically more elaborate).
One standout was the 2020 Shenandoah Valley Barbera (with 5% each of Primitivo and Petite Sirah): red-fruit dominant, fruit-forward but not overripe, delicate yet lingering finish, pure deliciousness. More restrained was the 2018 Sierra Foothills Grenache (with 8% Syrah): lean red fruit, elegant, slight herbal notes, good choice for folks who prefer reds with food supposedly better with whites. Also appealing was the 2019 El Dorado County Tempranillo (with 5% Syrah): easy drinking owing to two years in French oak, then another year in neutral barrels; soft yet palpable tannins; red-to-blue fruit with persistent savory undertone.
Didn’t have the 2021 “Hikaru the Sushi Wine” Sparkling Rosé Wine Blend with sushi, but super chilled, it was satisfying on its own. Also in this line, a collaboration between Chaim and his daughter, Sivan Gur-Arieh, are a Sauvignon Blanc and the Chilled Red Wine Blend.
Why go: flavorful wines; many varietals represented; winery’s hillside setting.
This review was excerpted from 52 Action-Packed Sierra Foothills Hours on this website.