Lake County has some spectacular wineries and great places to take old friends for a taste. Whether you spend an afternoon touring the vineyards at Six Sigma, enjoying the views at Laujor Estate Winery and Wild Diamond Vineyards, or enjoying a picnic at Brassfield Estate, there’s always somewhere to have a great experience. But sometimes, having a few friends over for a tasty home-cooked meal is the most enjoyable way to enjoy wine. We all know that wine’s best when it’s shared, and with Labor Day Weekend coming up, there’s no better time to try something new. Here are six of our favorites from three small, local wineries that are meant to drink with friends on a summer evening.
Old Vine Zinfandel: Taken from vines over one hundred years old, this wine has a depth of flavor impossible to find elsewhere. It’s truly a classic California wine. If you’re ever driving Highway 29 south of Middletown, you’ll see the gnarled vines stretching off to the right of the road. Enjoy this wine with pasta, a filet mignon, or a wood-fired pizza. Be sure to share with friends who appreciate beautiful things.
Viognier: This Viognier, filled with tropical notes in the bouquet and hints of pear, is the perfect wine for a summer afternoon on the lake. It’s bright and sits like liquid sunshine in the glass. Cook up some Thai food or blacken some fish, and you’ve got a perfect wine for them.
Rosenthal Vineyards wines are available at Brunos in Lakeport, Hardesters in Cobb, Middletown, and Hidden Valley Lake.
2018 Sangiovese: Rosa d’Oro specializes in Italian varietals, and their Sangiovese doesn’t disappoint. The wine’s filled with the tartness of cherry balanced by a full-bodied, plummy-ness that lingers long on the palate and is meant for a roasted meal. This wine shines when paired with red sauces and lighter meats such as grilled chicken. Your friends will be impressed.
2014 Aglianico: Firm tannins and a delicate minerality tell the story of this wine, a product of Lake County’s unique, highly volcanic terroir. This wine is meant to be savored slowly, because from start to finish, it talks. Show your friends that you’ve got great taste and serve this up with some lamb.
You can find Rosa d’Oro wines at Brunos in Lakeport, Hardesters in Cobb, Middletown, and Hidden Valley Lake, or at the Rosa d’Oro tasting room in Kelseyville.
2018 Petite Sirah: Awarded 96 and given a double gold medal by American Fine Wine, this dark, rich wine isn’t meant for people who care about keeping their teeth white. Hints of tobacco, dark fruits, and spice fill the bouquet and deliver a deep, rich, mouthfeel. This wine is so good, it’s a pity to serve it with food. Break this bottle out when you want to share some of the best wine in Lake County with your friends.
2018 Gypsy Rouge: This estate-grown blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsaut, Syrah, and Counoise sits floral in the nose, then transitions to spice before settling into marionberry and blackberry notes in the finish. Co-owner and winemaker Bryan Kane named it Gypsy because it’s a carefree, fun, lighthearted wine. It’s a wine made to be shared with friends and enjoyed with with laughter and joy. You can pair it with everything from Asian to barbecue.
You can purchase Sol Rouge wines on their website.