by Fred McMillin
for April 15, 1997

Raising Syrah to New Heights

Prologue: "El Dorado takes Sierra Foothill winegrowing to a different level, vineyards being 1000 feet above their neighbors...Trial plantings have spurred deepening interest in Syrah...[However,) at the Sierra Vista Winery Syrah has graduated from tryout to permanent status"...by Bob Thompson in "The Wine Atlas of California"

The Rest of the Story: At 2,900 feet above sea level, the Syrah vines of Sierra Vista are among the highest in California. They have a breathtaking view of the snowcapped Sierra range, which must be quite a shock to a Rhone varietal. However, founder-owners Barbara and John MacCready certainly have done a nice job of helping them adjust to their new environment, so they make a full-flavored, medium body red with a pleasing aroma. My panel gave it high marks, and I think you will, too.

1994 Syrah, Red Rock Ridge, El Dorado County, CA
Sierra Vista Winery
Placerville, El Dorado County, CA (where the '49ers once roamed)

Category: Recommended

Postscript: If you would like to follow the evolution of winemaking in the region that once jump-started the California economy, contact Editor Jolene Teresi to obtain her paper, the Sierra Foothills Vine Times, phone (916)642-8902, FAX (916)621-1240.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

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