Discover a new El Dorado County winery, just in time for summer wine-tasting.
At 2,329-feet elevation, about 20 miles southeast of Placerville, and nestled in the most southern part of El Dorado County, is an area that is still a well-kept secret: Fair Play.
During the Gold Rush, Fair Play was a prosperous mining town—hotels, several businesses and a post office. Today, Fair Play is attracting young farmers who are growing fruits and vegetables, flowers, Christmas trees, and—of course—grapes. In fact, Fair Play is rich in winemaking. Robust, full-bodied wines are being produced at affordable prices for the wine enthusiast.
One of the newest arrivals is Mediterranean Vineyards, the brainchild of a group of friends who knew the quality of the distinctive soil and knew that the region mirrors the climates of Spain, the Rhone region in France, Italy and Portugal. Their vision to farm and produce sustainable, quality wine has just recently become a reality: The winery’s grand opening was June 1.
“We are committed to promoting this region and the world-class wines coming out of Fair Play,” says Jill Osur, one of the winery owners.
THE IDYLLIC SETTING
Visiting Mediterranean Vineyards is reminiscent of being on a family vineyard in Tuscany, sitting on the patio under an umbrella, wine glass in hand, gazing out onto the grapevines and rolling hills beyond.
Patrons visiting the stylish tasting room can relax inside by the bar or at tables in the spacious area. Those outside patio tables with umbrellas are also available—or stroll around the estate while wine-tasting.
Summertime at the vineyard offers bocce ball courts and concerts throughout June, July and August. The vineyard is also dog-friendly. Bring your own picnic or purchase food items on-site and enjoy the tasty food and wine while taking in the lovely scenery.
Private or large group events can be held within the tasting room in The Library. Relax and enjoy the private room for exceptional wine tasting and bites to eat. The Library seats up to eight people and reservations are required.
Mediterranean Vineyards offers a comprehensive menu of wine offerings and there are choices for all wine lovers. For example, the 2016 Bianca di Baci is a combination of pinot grigio and muscat canelli; this crisp white wine is estate-grown and has notes of peach, quince and honey. The 2016 Rosato di Baci is another estate-grown wine that has a perfect mix of sangiovese and primitivo. In this delicious bottle, taste the fruitiness of strawberries and cherries with hints of caramel. Another estate-grown vintage is the 2014 Rosso di Baci. This bold red is made with a combination of sangiovese and charbono, and has cherry, plum and rose notes.
A new release is the 2016 GSM (which stands for grenache, syrah and mourvedre). The GSM is lush, fruity and has a sweeter taste to the palate. The 2016 Petite Sirah, grown at Granite Springs Vineyards, is 100 percent petite sirah. Wine tasters will savor the notes of black figs and pepper, and it offers a softer tannin base.
The vineyard’s summer releases include the albariño, barbera and mataro (mouvedre).
Mediterranean Vineyards will also be releasing new vintages under its Veterans Spirit brand, beginning in June. These select wines have been developed to benefit GallantFew, a national charity that supports veterans’ causes, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to GallantFew. Not only are the winery’s owners supporting veterans in need, they are committed to hiring veterans at all levels of the company. Currently three veterans—representing Army, Air Force and Marines—are employed there. “Mediterranean Vineyards believes in doing well by doing good,” Osur says.
Mediterranean Vineyards’ tasting room is open Monday–Thursday and Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m., with happy hour offered from 5–6 p.m. ($5 glasses of wine). 7449 Fair Play Road, Somerset, CA, 530-497-0175, medivineyards.com.