One of LA’s little wine gems is located in our very own Santa Clarita. What most people don’t know is that there’s an 88-acre vineyard in north eastern Los Angeles County called Agua Dulce Vineyards. Although it’s certainly not a wine brand you find in any stores, they hold their own with their Cabernet and Chardonnay. They have a huge, fully stocked wine tasting room with fun gifts, cheeses and gourmet food snacks. You can sip and nibble outside while watching locals horse back ride through the vineyard and along Sierra Highway against the mountain landscape.
Yesterday Terri and I participated in their “Wine Making 101” class with about 20 other people held in the vineyard’s barrel room. Although we had a blast, I probably wouldn’t necessarily call it a wine making class when the class was actually about wine blending. After our 15-16th sip of wine, none of it really mattered anyway LOL! We went from sitting quietly at a table with two other strangers to laughing and having our pictures taken with these people just 30 minutes later. Ahhhhh. Gotta love the social aspect of the wine!
The class’ focus was about the special blends of wine that make each vintage from different vineyards so unique. What most of us don’t realize is that a lot of the wine we drink is typically blended with some other grape other than the main varietal (“main” meaning at least 75%). In the U.S., vineyards are only legally obligated to disclose the main varietal on the front label. For example, Cabernet and Merlot are blending buddies. Although you purchase a bottle of Cabernet, there’s a very high likelihood that there is a little Merlot in the mix as well – even if it’s only 5%. Some popular vineyards will disclose the blend on the back, but some do not. Not everyone wants to give away their trade secrets!
The purpose of the class was for us to taste each wine provided and then create our own custom blend. Once we found the blend we liked best, we got to bottle and cork our very own custom made wine. So much fun!!!! Our class also included a lunch with wonderful bow tie pasta, turkey sandwiches and potato salad.
I named mine the 2012 G$ Reserve. I don’t want to brag (shining my nails against my shirt), but it is delicious! I used 50% Syrah, 10% Sangiovese and 15% Merlot. Yummmm! Terri gets the trophy though. Her blend of 25% Merlot, 25% Syrah, 20% Cabernet and 5% Sangiovese blew my bottle out of the water. I think she has a little vine in her blood!
If you live in the LA area and are looking for a little country fun mixed in with wine and snacks, then this place is for you. Check out their website for classes and outdoor concerts/mixers.
Here are some photos from the day. I kept going back-and-forth between my iPhone and Canon 7D so please forgive the inconsistency in the photos.
Terri couldn’t wait until she was finished bottling it. She needed more wine – ASAP!
And of course no trip to the country is complete without farm animals. These guys live on the vineyard: