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Posted February 2006

Amador Wine Country Event

Go Behind the Cellar Door

By Heather Irwin


Do you Tongue-Fu? You might this weekend, at Amador Wineries' Behind the Cellar Door food and wine (but mostly wine) event this weekend, February 11 and 12, 2006. The curiously–named seminar is just one of many offered at some of the 27 member wineries participating in this annual open house featuring food, wine and demonstrations. In the case of Tongue–Fu, participants will learn about how winemakers balance acidity versus tannins and sweetness while keeping a Kung Fu grip on body and drinkability. Hiiiii–ya!

The event takes place primarily in the Shenandoah Valley about 50 miles south east of Sacramento, in the heart of the Sierra Foothills wine region, also known as Gold Country. This emerging wine region, which actually has some of the oldest vines in the state, has made its mark with big, bold Zinfandels. Recently, however, winemakers have like Domaine de la Terra Rouge, have been successfully experimenting with Rhone varietals like Syrah and Mourvedre with surprising success.

With less crowds and more face–time with vintners and growers, Amador fans are flocking to wineries like Amador Foothill Winery, Easton, Karly Renwood and Sobon Estate, as well as to larger, but approachable winemakers like Montevina, proving there's still some gold–albeit liquid–in them thar hills.


If you go:

Tickets are $50 per person, good for both days, or $35 for Sunday only, and include a commemorative wine glass. Seminar seating is available on a first-come, first–serve basis, and seating capacity varies by winery, so show up early for those you're intent on attending.

Selected Seminars

Cooper Vineyards: Advance Your Wine Knowledge–What's the difference between Syrah and Petite Sirah? How does wine breathe? What can color tell us? When is Syrah Shiraz? Have all your wine questions answered by certified wine instructor G.M. "Pooch" Pucilowski while taking in breathtaking views of our estate vineyards. At 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., Sat. and Sun.

Domain Terra Rouge: Bill's premium Syrah cuvee, "High Slopes," will be the focus of this sit-down tasting seminar in the Terre Rouge Cellar. Find out how the 3000' elevation syrah sites for this cuvee make a wine with intense spice and complexity, garnering high praise from wine journalists and consumers. We will taste site–specific barrel samples as well as finished blends. Seating is limited. Plus, Asian–inspired food pairing. 11 a.m. Sat. and Sun.

Montevina: Tongue-Fu" – The art of winemaking involves balancing important taste components such as acid, sugar, alcohol, and tannin. Participants in the Tongue–Fu Challenge will learn the meaning of key wine terms and be challenged to identify wines which have been slightly altered to accentuate fruit acidity, volatile acidity, sugar, tannin, and alcohol. Saturday 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m.

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