Lodi and Amador wineries
I plan to spend a few days next week exploring the wine country around Lodi and Amador. Would really appreciate some guidance (too many wineries, only 3 dAys). If it's any help we really like zin and syrah. And of course let me know if there are any sure-fire restaurants then wife and I have to visit
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In Plymouth is a great restaurant called Taste. The town is tiny and you wouldn't expect cutting edge food but don't miss it for dinner. Be sure to make reservations.
The only winery I can recommend in Amador is Nine Gables. They have a good syrah and calital blend. Nine Gables is also a wonderful B&B.
In Fairplay, just a few minutes from Amador, are a bunch of wineries I really enjoy. Cedarville crafts terrific zins, syrah, viognier, and grenache. They were just given a plug in Saveur magazine. You need to call ahead and make an appointment. Mt. Aukum Winery is perched on top of it's namesake mountain and has extraordinary views of the whole area. I like their zin, viognier, and rousanne. Holly's Hill also has a beautiful view and makes a nice rose and syrah. They were mentioned in the same Saveur article.
Story Winery in Plymouth has a spectacular setting for a picnic. Great zins, too. Taste is a great restaurant but also try the smoked, bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers at the Dancing Bear, just a couple of doors down inside the Plymouth Hotel.
Drytown Cellars has the best Sangiovese I've had in Amador, better then Vino Nocetto who is supposed to specialize in it. Also try J&D's Steakhouse in Sutter Creek if you have time.
In Lodi, one restaurant I'd suggest is Wine & Roses. As a hotel, they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Good food and lovely setting. Their wine list has some good local wines on it. If the weather allows it (and unfortunately I think it won't), eating out on their patio is my favorite location.
Taste in Plymouth (Amador) is only open for dinner. Andrae's (very small) bakery shop in Amador City makes good sandwiches, pastries, and a really tasty cracker. We always get a few tubs of the crackers to take home if they are available. I believe they are only open Thu-Sun; you might want to call to doublecheck their open hours.
Wine & Roses
2505 W Turner Rd, Lodi, CA 95242
Jessie's Grove was a highlight of a Lodi wine run earlier this year- I don't believe they do a Syrah, but the zins (particularly Westwind) and Carignane were quite good.
Convivial, bordering on rowdy tasting room crowd with generous staff when we were there.
The Lodi Wine and Visitors Center features bottles from many area wineries for sale, but they were pouring a very limited selection when we went.