When I’m in the U.S., I am always searching for a little piece of Italy. The mystic poet Rumi said, “What you seek is seeking you,” and that is absolutely true. I keep finding Italy in the most unexpected places! Most recently, Italy has found me in the form of Barbera wine from Boeger Winery in Placerville, California.
When my aunt suggested meeting in Apple Hill for the day, I immediately searched for wineries there and Boeger Winery was the first one that popped up. I saw the word BARBERA and knew I had to visit! Barbera’s native home is the Piedmont region of Italy (which I have an affinity for since I studied abroad there in Torino, the largest city in the region).
I snapped this picture through the car window with my phone as we were leaving, not to bad for a drive by photo, eh? The sky really was that beautiful, intense blue; that’s one of my favorite things about this region, you can always count on true blue skies.
The grounds at Boeger Winery are lush and inviting. You can sip wine either inside at the bar or outside under the gazebo. Bring your own picnic lunch to enjoy at one of the many picnic tables outside. The weather was still sunny and in the 70’s (around 21 C) in early October.
Location: Boeger Winery is nestled in the Sierra Nevada Foothills in the town of Placerville, located between Lake Tahoe and Sacramento. Coming from the East, the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains turn into soft, rolling hills that yield to sweeping eagle eye views above the dense pine forest. Boeger Winery is in the region known as Apple Hill, an area known for you guessed it, apple orchards! It’s a tradition for locals in the greater Sacramento/Reno area to visit Apple Hill in the fall during harvest to enjoy lots of apple baked goods, cider, and other fun activities.
Wine Tasting: As if the beautiful grounds weren’t reason enough to visit Boeger Winery, their wines surely seal the deal. Boeger Winery specializes in unique (to the U.S.) varietals like Barbera, Primitivo, and Tempranillo. You can wine taste inside at the bar, or outside under the gazebo. The main tasting menu includes a selection of whites, rosés, and reds, from which you can choose 6 to taste for $5 (AMAZING deal if you’ve ever seen Napa prices…$25 for 3 wines is generally the lowest rate). There is also an option to taste reserve wines for $20. My favorites were of course, Barbera (I brought home a bottle), Primitivo, and the Primitivo rosé.
Vist: Boeger Winery
Buy: Boeger Barbera
Believe it or not, as much time as I have spent in Piedmont, I never got a chance to try Barbera there. When I studied abroad in Torino I had just turned 21 and hadn’t yet acquired an appreciation for wine, so I am making up for lost time.
I briefly learned about Barbera in my WSET 2 course; however, I realized that I had gotten Barbaresco and Barbera confused. Barbaresco is made from Nebbiolo grapes, while Barbera is an actual grape variety.
The dominant flavor for me is cranberry! Immediately I thought, this wine would be absolutely perfect paired with a Thanksgiving turkey. I googled (can you see a common theme here with my googling? lol) to see if anyone else had thought of that pairing before, and it’s in BON APPETIT!!! So at least I know my palate is legit. 😉I don’t know what else I’m having on the menu for Thanksgiving 2018, but you can bet Boeger Barber is my wine.
Note: The vines in the two pictures above are not Barbera grapes. They were the vines closest to the entrance that happened to be easy to photograph. Barbera has a darker skin. I forget which varietal these are, but if you can identify grapes by sight, please do let me know in the comments!
Head on over to my instagram @italianatheart_ for a live tasting and audio version of this post!