C.G. DiArie Tasting Room Review
Address: 19919 Shenandoah School Rd Plymouth,California 95669.
Phone Number: 209-245-4700
Tasting Hours: Fri-Mon 11:00-4:30
Region: Sierra Foothills AVA, Amador County, California Shenandoah Valley AVA, California
Reviewer: Yvonne Kochanowski
Review Date: 4/20/2012
Reviewer: Yvonne Kochanowski
The gently hilly country road takes you through picturesque nurseries and vineyards on your way to C. G. DiAries tasting room, and a more peaceful spot would be hard to find. Set in what appears to be a former house and backed by a picnic area nestled under towering trees next to a waterfall and pond, the tasting room is compact, expanded by the deck area outside.
The Place:  The C. G. DiArie winery with its European architecture is located in El Dorado County next door, and it is only open once a month to wine club members and visitors. Its a shame, since that building is truly beautiful, filled with its interesting art collection, surrounded by spacious patios, and a great place to enjoy the views of rolling hills covered with vines and native trees. The tasting room moved a few years ago to its current higher auto traffic location. No limos are allowed in either location.
The Experience:  From past experience, we knew that there were many interesting wine making practices undertaken by Chaim Gur-Avieh, the winemaker, inventor and food science innovator, but we didnt get a chance to discuss those on this visit. Unique punch-down systems in tanks, blending and analysis sciences, and synthetic corking techniques are just some of the things to ask about when you visit.
The Wines:  It was disappointing to find only seven wines available for tasting, one a white and one a port. The winery is known for its blends, but those are only distributed to wine club members and a few restaurants and local retailers. A wide selection of the winerys Zinfandels and Syrahs are available through local stores and restaurants, though only one of each variety was on the tasting menu. Case production has been greatly reduced because excess inventory has built up over the past couple of years.
The People:  Our tasting host was knowledgeable about the wines, and proved to be a friendly and engaged companion as we enjoyed the various selections. In past visits, the staff has been hit or miss, so it was delightful to have a good experience this time. When we mentioned that we used to be wine club members, we were not asked to rejoin, which surprised us.
Insiders Tip:  If youre local or can plan your visit around a specific date, its worthwhile to visit the winery itself during one of its monthly open houses. The tasting room really doesnt capture the magic of that primary location among the vines. Ask about the winemakers background and youll learn a lot about the history of food development in the U.S. as well.