Rocks and Rhones A

THE ROCKY SOILS in the Pleasant Valley area are great for growing grapes that grow in the Rhône Valley in France. To celebrate the similarities the Pleasant Valley wineries are holding Rocks and Rhônes on May 24 and 25. Democrat file photo


Soil and climate are important

By From page B1 | May 23, 2014

What: Rocks and Rhônes

Who: Five Pleasant Valley Wineries: Auriga Wine Cellars, Holly’s Hill Vineyards, Miraflores Winery, Narrow Gate Vineyards and Sierra Vista Vineyards and Winery

When: Memorial weekend, May 24 and 25 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. each day

Cost: $35 per person in advance online, $40 per person at the door and $20 for designated drivers

Information:, 530-344-0227 or e-mail [email protected]

Location. Location. Location.

When it comes to producing great wines terroir is important. The climate and soil where a grape is grown are major factors in the final product that is enjoyed by the consumer.

The Pleasant Valley area in El Dorado County has the perfect terroir to grow the varietals that flourish in France’s Rhône Valley. The young volcanic rock and slate and sandstone that is found in Pleasant Valley toughen the grape vines adding to the beauty of the fruit.

Red varietals include: syrah, grenache, mourvedre, cinsault, counoise, muscardin, vaccarese, picpoul noir and terret noir.

White varietals include: roussanne, marsanne, viognier, bourboulenc, clairette, grenache blanc, picpoul blanc and picardan.

This unique setting has attracted five winemakers to Pleasant Valley and fostered an event to celebrate the special qualities found in wines crafted in this portion of El Dorado County.

The event — Rocks and Rhônes is a fun, intimate wine and food pairing experience on Memorial weekend, May 24 and 25 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. each day.

Participating wineries are: Auriga Wine Cellars, 4520 Pleasant Valley Road, 530-647-8078; Holly’s Hill Vineyards, 3680 Leisure Lane, 530-344-0227; Miraflores Winery, 2120 Four Springs Trail, 530-647-8505; Narrow Gate Vineyards, 4282 Pleasant Valley Road, 530-644-6201; and Sierra Vista Vineyards and Winery, 4560 Cabernet Way, 530-622-7221.

The winemakers at each winery will show visitors how Pleasant Valley’s unique growing conditions and winemaking techniques produce an array of extraordinary Rhône-style wines.

This is a favorite event for the winery personnel who love to share the exceptional vintages with amazing locally sourced food.


Venue’s menus

Auriga is serving ratatouille using fresh local seasonal vegetables and braised pork with port and prunes.

Holly’s Hill is offering Lake Tahoe lobster risotto and Hangtown Jollity Farm cheesesteak.

Miraflores is presenting la broufade (a stew from Arles), pissaladiere (onion tarts) and assorted gourmet cheeses.

Narrow Gate is preparing wild mushroom velouté with truffle oil, locally made French-style sausage, sweet peppers and caramelized onion on soft, organic, rosemary polenta.

At Sierra Vista, visitors can enjoy sautéed prawns with tarragon cream sauce, slow-roasted rosemary and garlic crusted filet mignon on a brioche mini bun with caramelized red onions and black summer truffle aioli.

Visit all five Pleasant Valley Wineries for a great weekend of food and wine pairings, new releases, wine club specials and barrel tastings — all showcasing the flavors and talents of El Dorado County.

Tickets for Rocks and Rhônes are $35 per person in advance online, $40 per person at the door and $20 for designated drivers. The price includes a logo glass.

For more information visit or call 530-344-0227 or e-mail [email protected]

For tickets go to

To win a 100-bottle “Mountain of Wine” in a raffle supporting El Dorado County’s Ag in the Classroom programs buy tickets at the wineries or go to [email protected]

Mimi Escabar

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