The quaint town of Jamestown, California, features antique shops, prospecting equipment stores, and of course, wine tasting rooms. While we enjoy browsing antiques and the prospecting equipment is intriguing, but nothing excites us quite like exploring the tasting rooms!
Jamestown is an easy jaunt from Murphys, so we typically combine the two towns when we are having a wine tasting weekend in the area. We cruised into Jamestown and parked in the public lot that is right on Main Street. Since the “main drag” of Jamestown is just six or so blocks long, it is easy to return to the parking lot with wine bottles as they are purchased, keeping our hands free for more shopping and wine tasting, and the wine chilling in the cooler.
We strolled toward the far end of Main Street, stopping frequently to explore antique shops. After more than a few stops, we made it to the bright yellow bungalow that is the Gianelli Vineyards tasting room. The room was full of sunshine, with a long tasting bar and scattered tables for seated tastings (hooray). There were groups of happy wine lovers enjoying their tasting flights and club members picking their new releases. All in all, a very happy room to enter!
We met wine guide Chelsea, who set us up with wine glasses and tasting menus. There was a table for four conveniently located near the center of the bar, so we took our seats and made our individual selections from the more than ample list. Between the four of us, we were able to cover the majority of their offerings. It is always good to wine taste in a group!
Their 2010 Sangiovese was a perfect “popcorn and a movie” wine, full of personality and layers of fruit. The 2010 Dolcetto (which means little sweet one in Italian) has nice raspberry and cherry notes with a dusty finish. A newcomer with lots of promise was their 2013 Barbera. It should mellow with age, but shows great complexity already. The 2011 Primitivo had fun notes of orange blossom and blackberry on both the nose and the palate. Their 2012 Nino, an estate blend of 50% Dolcetto, 26% Aglianico, 14% Nebbiolo and 10% Sangiovese, had an aroma reminiscent of Port, lots of fruit, and a clean finish.
The 2011 Aglianico (don’t pronounce the G and act confident when you say the name) was a festival of dark berries, the favorite of all of us! A close second in the “best of the tasting” competition was their 2012 Petite Sirah, with smooth plum, raspberry and cherry notes and faint tannins on the finish. Their 2012 Montepulciano Reserva was a wonderful example of this amazing varietal, with aromas of the forest and flavors of lush fruit up front and a ghost finish.
Having nearly exhausted the tasting menu and chosen far too many bottles of wine to take home, we thanked Chelsea for a wonderful tasting and set off for more antiques and wine!
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?