Our day of wine tasting in the Murphys area was drawing to close. After tasting at Four Winds, Twisted Oak, Chatom, and Ayrael Vieux, we felt that we had enough motivation to visit one or two more wineries. Based on our friends’ recommendations, we drove to Indian Rock Vineyards. A feast for the eyes and a party in the tasting room!
Our first impression of the property was, “Wow, what a great place for a picnic!” The lake was ringed by picnic tables complete with shade umbrellas. There were more tables snuggled up against the building with a greenery-covered shade structure. Before we even entered the tasting room we were filled with a tranquil, serene feeling.
When we entered the tasting room, we discovered that we had come on a Club Member pickup weekend. That meant several things. First, the place was full of happy people dropping by, tasting a bit of wine and departing with their newly-released wines. That is conducive to a lot of smiles. Second, since we weren’t members, the staff very appropriately spent a lot more time with other people. Silver lining: we had plenty of time to look around, and there was A LOT to see.
We started our tasting with their 2012 Pinot Grigio. This was a “main stream” Pinot Grigio, with nice fruit notes and just a bit of butter. This would be perfect to sip while watching the ducks on the pond. Similarly, we imagined drinking the 2013 Chardonnay pool- (or pond)-side. Butter and cream over the fruit, ready for some rich cheese and salty crackers!
As we wandered around the room, taking in all of the items, some for sale and some just for admiring, we checked out the 2010 Merlot. A very light Merlot, both in color and taste. For people ready to explore Merlot for the first time, this is a great gateway Merlot. True Merlot fans may want more assertiveness, but it made for a great taste while admiring the giant ceramic frog. OK, so I get that whole Calavaras county frog thing, but it could be getting a bit out of hand. This frog is beautiful art, but small children may be a bit intimidated.
The “favorite taste” among our group was awarded to their 2010 Petite Sirah. We enjoyed the balance for fruit and acid, with a dry finish that should pair well with nearly any picnic meal. Our final taste was their non-vintage Blackberry Pie, a unique dessert wine that earned its name. Deep, deep fruit notes with just enough tannin to balance it out. Now if only there were slices of said pie available? Maybe next time!
We had one more winery to visit, so we paid our tasting fees and set off for downtown Murphys. Main Street here we come!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?