Skinner Vineyard and Winery – Snail Prize
8054 Fairplay Rd.
tel. (530) 620-2220
35 ac – 77,000 bt
‘‘After discovering an ancestral connection to a Gold Rush-era miner, rancher, and wine grower named James Skinner, Mike and Carey Skinner purchased property in the El Dorado Hills, along with a century-old stone cellar built by James (Mike’s great, great, great-grandfather”
The wines tasted for this year’s guide were the last made for the estate by the supremely talented Chris Pittenger who is now focusing on his Gros Ventre winery in West Sonoma Coast.
Located in the Sierra Nevada foothills in El Dorado County, the Skinner estate vineyards are high-elevation sites planted primarily to Rhône grape varieties, which have become the young estate’s calling card. The Stoney Creek Vineyard, with 18 planted acres, is in the Fair Play AVA, and, at 2,700 feet, is one of the loftiest vineyard perches in California. Soils are mostly decomposed granite, and diurnal temperature swings are dramatic. The 12-acre White Oak Vineyard, adjacent to the original Skinner property, is at 1,400 feet, with a mix of iron-rich volcanic loam and granite.
The Estate Mourvèdre 2015 showed rich notes of ripe red fruit and black cherry with a wonderful, delicate spiciness that seemed to speak of the wild Sierra Foothills woods. The Six Horse Zinfandel 2015 is the only wine in Skinner’s lineup that’s not made from Rhône grape varieties. It has a beautiful minerality to it that buoys the fresh red fruit and lip-smacking acidity, a fantastic example of the “new- old” style of Zinfandel that’s becoming increasingly popular among California wine lovers.
Grenache Blanc 2017
Really hit on all cylinders: freshness, vibrant citrus fruit and fresh cut herbs, excellent varietal expression, and wonderful weight.
PLANT PROTECTION none
WEED CONTROL mechanical
YEASTS spontaneous fermentation
GRAPES purchase 60%