Thoughts/advice on Lake County, CA wine please?
Usually my favorite California wines are from Santa Cruz, Sonoma and even Napa. But recently I was at a dinner party where we were served an Obsidian Cabernet Sauvignon. It was the first time I had tasted a Lake County wine and most of us found it to be fairly good. More of a "mountain" style of Cab and that is what I prefer in California Cabernet.
I would obviously never judge a region by one bottle of wine so I will ask what you think of the wines from Lake County, CA and if you recommend trying additional bottles. Thanks.
Thank you all for the excellent information and advice!
Zin 1953, I am a fan of many wineries in the Foothills. If you have not done so already, I would highly recommend visiting Cedarville. Jonathan and Susan are wonderful hosts.
I have been drinking Steve's wines for ages but was never clear on where the fruit was from so I am glad you put him in the Foothills category. I hope to meet him one day. My guess is that you have probably already met the man.
In the FWIW Dept.,
-- I've known Jonathan and Susan since they lived in San Jose. They make great wines . . . and do so consistently, a trait that is sometimes lacking with other small vintners from the Foothills.
-- Most of Steve Edmunds' grapes sources are from up in the foothills, with occasional forays into Sonoma. Steve lives down the hill from me; his grandson and my daughters go to school together.
Shannon Ridge makes some single-vineyard wines that can be quite nice (Roussanne, Barbera, Tempranillo).
Brassfield Estate makes a proprietary red blend called Eruption worth checking out. Here's the LA Times Wine of the Week writeup on it:
Finally, I recall enjoying a Snow's Lake Winery Syrah that was excellent. This is in the separate Red Hills AVA of Lake County. I understand that last fall Snow's Lake Winery was sold to Gallo, so I don't know what that means in terms of continuing quality.
Rosenblum, known for its vineyard-designate Zinfandels, makes a Snow's Lake Zin. I don't know if that will continue if the land they sourced their fruit from was purchased by Gallo.
Location is an issue in Lake County. I'd never call it cool, as it's hotter than Hades in summer. What makes the difference is being on the high hillsides surrounding the lakes, or just very high up, where the breezes cool down the grapes and slow the ripening season. If the vineyards don't have cooling breezes, the grapes generally get too ripe and too low in acid for my enjoyment.
In the FWIW Dept.
Fowler, my favorite region in California is also the Santa Cruz Mountains, followed by the cooler sites within Sonoma and Anderson Valley -- with a couple of specific additions from the Sierra Foothills (Edmunds St. John, Domaine de Terre Rouge, and Cedarville).
Lake Co. is an area with potential, based upon the few wines I had in the 1980s and early 1990s, but -- to be honest -- it's not an area I keep track of. Wish I could be of more help.
I have a preference for wines from the cooler climes of CA and there are some excellent ones from that area. You should check out some of the wines from Mendicino and the Anderson Valley. However, they probably do Pinot Noir and Zinfandel better than Cabs. You were fortunate to try the Obsidian as they are probably the best Cab producer in that area.
Other producers I particularly like are:
Black Kite (Pinot Noir)
Benovia (PNs and Zins)
Papapietro Perry (PN)
Londer (some very nice Chards)
Foursight (nice whites and well priced)
Goldeneye (very nice place to visit, nice PNs, some good Chards under their Migration label)