Villa Vallecito Vineyards is an excellent example of a successful transition from farming to winemaking. Sure, the grapes are great, but the wine? That’s where the artistry comes in!
Our wine tasting tour of Murphys was drawing to a close. With rain pelting down, we made our way to our last tasting of the day. Suzy at Vina Moda told us about Villa Vallecito. The two wineries shared a winemaker, yet she said that the two wineries had dramatically different wines. She enjoyed them both and suggested that we check it out ourselves.
Even with pouring rain outside, the Villa Vallecito tasting room was bright and full of pictures of vineyards. We found some space at the L-shaped tasting bar and met the owners, Alan and G. When I asked G how she spelled her name, she assured me that it only required one letter. I wonder how the monogramming works?
Alan set us up with wine glasses and poured their 2013 Sabor-A-Mi, a blend of Chardonnay and Viognier. Taking its name from a Mexican ballad, and paying homage to G’s parents, it won a Bronze Medal at the 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. We loved the butter and lemon zest notes, already glad that we took Suzy’s advice.
Next up was their 2012 Grenache. A Gold Medal winner at the S.F. Chronicle competition, we enjoyed the dark plum and restrained tannins and long, smooth finish. Another Gold Medal winner was their 2012 Payaso. Meaning “clown” in Spanish, we found it fun and fruity with a quick, clean finish.
Winning a Silver Medal from the Chronicle competition and the “best of the tasting” award from us, their 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon showed delicate plum and black cherry notes and remarkably gentle tannins. A close second among our group was their 2012 Syrah, soft and smooth with an intriguing bit of spice at the end.
We next tasted their 2012 Barbera Reserve. With smoke on the nose and bing cherry on the tongue, this was a fun and drinkable Barbera for the back yard contemplation at sundown. Our final taste was a “Club Only” wine, their 2013 Barbera. Alan told us that this wine had won a Double Gold at the Chronicle competition. With bright fruit and a Bing cherry finish, we all agreed with the Chronicle judges.
Tasting complete, we bought our wine and dashed out into the downpour. Many thanks to G and Alan for a great last tasting!
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?