Food & Drink

The lowdown on Paul J. Winery

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We received an invitation in March to attend the first year anniversary of the Paul J. Winery and Tasting Room in Amador County. We had another commitment and couldn’t attend. One month later we went to a wine club pickup party in Amador County and met a very nice couple who lived in Plymouth. I asked them, as locals, what other wineries they would recommend. They said Wilderotter Vineyards on Shenandoah School Road and Paul J. Wines, just across the street. I wrote about Wilderotter in my last column so here’s the skinny on Paul J. Winery.

Paul Sobon is a second generation vintner and winemaker who began in 1977, when his parents started Shenandoah Vineyards and later, Sobon Estates. He learned winemaking and grape growing from his father, Leon. One of six children, Paul chose to join the family business after college. He continued his wine education with two harvests in Australia and one in Bordeaux, France. Having always dreamed of starting his own winery with his daughter, Camille, it became a reality on April 6, 2018.

Paul J. Wines produces 2,500 cases including Vermentino, a bone dry rose and a classic buttery Chardonnay, a best seller in a local restaurant. On the red side, Syrah, Zinfandel, Barbera, Petite Sirah, Tannat and Camille’s Red Blend (Tinta Cao and Souza) are big and bold, yet approachable and food friendly. The beautiful tasting room has high ceilings and large windows directing your view to the lush rolling vineyards. The large cool shady picnic area also includes bocce ball, corn-hole and a putting green. They’re open Thursday-Sunday, tasting fees are nominal and waived with purchase. A big thank you goes to that nice local couple for the inside scoop on Wilderotter Vineyards and Paul J. Winery. Put those two on your must taste list when you visit.

Yosemite Vintners’ Holiday

Good news, the Ahwahnee is back for the 2019 Vintners’ Holiday. The lineup of the wineries has been released for the eight sessions beginning Nov. 3 through Dec. 6. We really dig this event. It’s our yearly visit to Yosemite because of the cool weather and very few visitors. It includes a two or three night stay, four wine seminar/tastings, a meet and greet the winemaker evening with wine and delicious appetizers and a five-course gala dinner paired with wine, all held in the Ahwahnee Hotel. Check our travelyosemite.com for the details.

What’s on our table this week is the 2017 Velvet Moon Cabernet Sauvignon from Trader Joe’s at just $5.99. It was selected the Best Value Wine at the California State Fair. Give it a try. What do you think? Cheers!

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