Monthly Archives: January 2013

Drink Locally

Local pride in local wines is strong in Murphys. The image below is of the corkage fee from a local restaurant menu:



Ayrael Vieux

Only 350 cases produced and just a few varietals, but Ayrael Vieux is worth a stop if you ever see their sandwich board sign out on Highway 4. They are only open on certain days of the weekend, depending on the seasons. But, they do have the most elegant old world style wines in the area.

Be careful when pulling into their drive. Ollie, the vineyard dog, is very friendly and may run right in front of your moving car just to greet you.

Sofa King Bueno

Took this wine to a cool music jam session last night in a town that has a population of 25 but like 40 of ’em are rock stars. We all loved the wine even more than its creatively profound name. If you know what bueno means, say the name in your head three times quickly.


Terrific Vermentino blended with Viognier! They should have called it V2 or Double V because it is a velvety vinification. On its own, Viognier is like the truffle oil of grapes; it can too easily overwhelm and overpower. Vermentino brings light crisp acidity to this blend and the wine has wonderful structure with both giving their best.

The long Tanner history in Murphys is clear just from a visit to their tasting room across Main street from Alchemy. All over the walls are photos of this family business dating back several generations. They are such a staple for locals and visitors that most tasting room patrons were greeted by their first names.

El Jardin

I’ve always said you can tell a good Mexican restaurant before your order even arrives. It’s all about the salsa and chips! At El Jardin, they have more than one but one is one you won’t soon forget: pickled cabbage salsa:



It’s healthy, low fat, and only takes three ingredients! Can you guess?


In Sonoma, one of the easiest questions you get working at a tasting room is “how many bottles are in a case” or “does this Merlot make me look fat?” But, people here are a little different in the High Country. You still get a gaggle of girls piling out of a limo to snap photos, drink, and also taste some wines. Just overheard at a tasting room: “how should we taste wine?” The guy behind the counter replied with specific instructions on how to swirl wine in a counterclockwise direction. One of the south paw girls asked if she should swirl in the same direction as her right handed friends.

Broll Mountain

Who says Merlot cannot live on its own. The Broll Mountain Merlot balanced, complex, and bursting with that dark cherry cassis flavor that is such a hallmark flavor for Merlot.

On to more Bordeaux discoveries in the High Country.