A new Mother Lode: vintners rediscover Sierra foothills

A new Mother Lode: vintners rediscover Sierra foothills

June 19, 2011
By Jon Bonné, Chronicle Wine Editor

“There might be no better sign of the new ambition than Skinner Vineyards in Fair Play. Its ties to the past are evident: Founder Mike Skinner is the great-great-great-grandson of James Skinner, a Scottish miner who in 1860 turned his gold into one of the foothills’ first wineries. The modern-day Skinners built a sleek new facility and hired Chris Pittenger, who did stints at Williams Selyem and Marcassin in Sonoma and Torbreck in Australia.

“2009 Skinner El Dorado Grenache ($26, 15%): Winemaker Chris Pittenger provides a snapshot of the beauty of foothills Grenache, and a signal of the future. A mix of fruit from two notable sites – Sumu Kaw and Fenaughty – it’s packed with mace and nutmeg, a coppery tang and a black-tea bite to the brooding berry fruit.”

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