On the western edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains sits California’s Sierra Foothills Wine Region. Established in 1987, the AVA contains vineyards that were planted during the California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century. Due to its inland location, the days tend to be hot and dry, while the nights are significantly cooler. Our Sierra Foothills Wine Reviews indicate that Zinfandel is by far the most planted grape, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Chardonnay. The better Zinfandels hail from Amador County and are loaded with wild berry and spice flavors and firm tannins, according to our Sierra Foothills Wine Ratings. The area has also become a popular place to visit as there are over 100 wineries in the region––many of them are small, family-owned establishments. For a full list of rated and reviewed wines from the area, be sure to check out our Sierra Foothills Buying Guide.
This is one of the few California Syrahs that demands time in the cellar. Its tough tannins form an aloof astringency that makes it virtually undrinkable now, but it has an incredible core of blackberry, black currant and dark chocolate fruit. Peppery, anise, leather and spice notes, in addition to slightly caramelized vanillins from 100% new oak, impart great…
Light in color, alcohol and texture, this dynamic wine has a fresh pepper flavor, and is gorgeous all around, like drinking fresh rose petals. This could be enjoyed all day long, every day, but with only 51 cases produced, get it now or you’ll miss out on it.
Hang onto your hat; here’s a very great Syrah. The aromas are hiding, now suggesting plum and blackberry, now black pepper, now freshly baked rhubarb pie. In the mouth, it knocks out with grace and power. It’s soft as silk, but complex and layered, and the richly tannic finish suggests aging potential. Not too long, though.
Only eight barrels of this totally wonderful stuff were produced. This young, immature Syrah is massive and splendid. Huge in fruit, pepper, smoke, and earthy flavors, swaddled in rich tannins and smart oak. Great now, but will improve over the next 4 years.
A beautiful Zin, among the best ever, with its near perfect balance of fruit, alcohol and tannins. Gorgeous flavors burst on the palate, black cherries, blackberries, cassis, white chocolate, espresso and cinnamon, to name a few. The wine is totally dry, but so ripe, it tastes sweet. Completely addictive, a joy for lovers of dry, balanced Zins, and a triumph for…
This is Terre Rouge’s priciest Syrah, a barrel selection of the best lots. It’s a big wine. No, make that huge. Godzilla-esque. Just explodes in the mouth with massive flavors of blackberry and black cherry jam, milk chocolate, anise, cedar and pepper. Finishes bone dry, and the tannins are also gigantic, but very finely ground. You need to cellar this puppy. Best…
Softly tannic, sexy and delicious, with waves of berry-cherry pie filling and mocha for richness, and drier, tarter notes of currants, leather, rhubarb and pomegranates, accentuated with smoky wood. A blend of Grenache and Syrah, it’s sophisticated and nuanced. Try as an interesting, more food-friendly alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon.
A super-structured, incredibly textured Syrah from the Sierra Foothills, this is Bill Easton’s best of the best lots, aptly named Ascent, that he puts out every year to showcase his deft handling of age-worthy Syrah. This one will continue to develop its earthy, dusty, bacon fat and cigar box qualities over time. A truly beautiful bottle of wine.