It’s true: the holidays in Lake County are beautiful. By Thanksgiving, the last of the yellow-orange oak leaves have fallen, and fall is slowly shifting towards winter. It’s time for short days and long nights, warm evenings by the fire, and, of course, some great local wine. Whether you’re inviting family and friends over for a holiday meal, enjoying a special breakfast, or reading a book on a rainy evening, here are five great Lake County wines you can enjoy on any occasion.
- R Vineyards 2022 Viognier: Each year, Dave and Monica Rosenthal harvest their own grapes and craft unique wines. If you haven’t tried their Old Vine Zinfandel, you’re missing out. But their Viognier holds its own against any other white wine. Bold, bright, and broad, this wine has lovely peach and citrus notes but isn’t oversweet. It’s perfect paired with turkey, ham, or on its own. You can find it at Wine in the Willows, Brunos, and Hardesters. If you live outside Lake County, send an email to Monica at Monica@RVineyards.com.
- Rosa d’Oro 2018 Barbera: Barberas are a fantastic wine that can be paired with just about any dish, from beef to pizza to pasta to whatever else you want to enjoy it with. That versatility also makes it probably the best wine to bring to a friend’s house over the holidays. It doesn’t matter what they cook; you can be sure it will be a hit. Rosa d’Oro’s Barbera is one of the best, with a delightful plummyness in the body that ends with lingering spice on the palate. It’s a wine that’s hard to say ‘no’ to. You can buy it at their tasting room, Bruno’s, Hardesters, or, if you prefer, online.
- Olof Cellars 2019 White Nebbiolo: Nebbiolo is a difficult wine to produce and has a reputation for being finicky, extremely variable, and also, quite good. It’s possible to taste three different winery’s Nebbiolos and get three completely different flavor profiles. Given the difficulty creating Nebbiolo, it’s not an easy wine to find, and finding a white Nebbiolo is nearly impossible. I’ve not seen any in the United States other than at Olof Cellars. This wine is delicate, soft, and has a gentle oak that smoothes the profile. It’s a delightful wine sure to impress anyone you share it with. The best way to get this wine is at their tasting room, but you can also order it online.
- Mt. Konocti Winery Sauvignon Blanc: Lake County is famous for its Sauvignon Blancs, and Mt. Konocti Winery makes one of the tastiest in the county. This wine is all fruit in the bouquet with bright, happy grapefruit and mango notes that rest easily on the palate. Crisp, clean and bright, it’s all the best parts of a Sauv Blanc and is guaranteed to go well with all kinds of appetizers and any kind of poultry you choose to serve. This wine is best served well-chilled and when you’re in a good mood–it will only make the mood better. You can buy it at their tasting room, Hardesters, or online.
- Brassfield 2020 Eruption Red Blend: “I just want a wine that tastes good and that everyone will love,” you say. Well, look no further than Brassfield’s Eruption. It’s a secret, proprietary blend, and for good cause. This wine is eminently drinkable. With aromas of cherry and vanilla and a smooth, rich, mouthfeel, this wine is perfect in just about any situation. Have it for a holiday dinner, drink it by the fire, share it with friends. It doesn’t matter: This wine is up to the challenge. If you want to make it spectacular, serve it with a smoked tri-tip or London Broil. You can find Eruption almost everywhere, but if you want an amazing experience, pick it up at the winery. If that’s too far of a drive, you can always buy it online or use this tool to find it in a store near you.
This list is far from complete, but it’s a great sample of the amazing wineries in Lake County. If you want to dive deeper into some of California’s best wines, here is a good place to start.