Behind the Cellar Door 2020
Note: This post is sponsored by Behind the Cellar Door. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal views.
As you know, I love any reason to visit Amador County wineries. Amador Vintner Association’s annual event, Behind the Cellar Door 2020, is one of my favorite ways to explore old and new favorites in this part of the Sierra Foothills.
One part education, one part entertainment, Behind the Cellar Door is a wine tasting and pairing weekend for both oenophiles *and* newbies. Think award-winning Amador wines, mouth-watering food pairings, educational seminars, and rare vintages, all in an accessible and welcoming setting!
Thank you to Randy Hall and Isy and Eliana from Borjón for our Behind the Cellar 2020 tickets. If you haven’t been before, this event is a must–attend where you can sample wine from the Amador Vintner Association’s 43 member wineries.
Our first stop was Borjón Winery. Jorja and I met up with our friends Kara, Heidi, and Jeremy, where we received our commemorative wine glasses and cool passport booklet that serves as a useful guide to all the wineries. The weather may have been rainy, but it didn’t dampen the spirit and energy of the event!
Borjon’s tastings included their award-winning Borjón label wines, Los Portales label, single varietals and blends. The Sangiovese Reposado, Barbera Reposado, Zinfandel Reposado, Primitivo Reposado, Petite Sirah Reposado, and Los Portales Tempranillo were particularly memorable.
The wines were paired with authentic Mexican food hors d’oeuvres, live music, and lush views of the vineyards. It was a great beginning to what was to be a wonderful day in Amador County!
Next up was Dillian Wines, where we were greeted with big smiles and warm hospitality, which always pairs well with wine and Vince Guerra’s delicious hand-made raviolis!
It was a pleasure to interview winemaker Tom Dillion Jr and his adorable daughter April as we tasted their delicious wines, including their award-winning Sangiovese and Vino Nostro Fifteen-Year Anniversary Reserve Blend.
What a pleasure to be able to spend so much time with Tom and being able to hear the family story. Stay tuned for more from on the Dillion family story!
Karmère Vineyards and Winery
Onto Karmère Vineyards and Winery, whose French-style chateau tasting room overlooks the vineyards of the Shenandoah valley. The bucolic atmosphere was delightful, and their wines are sublime. I particularly enjoyed the Barbera, which was paired with a hearty sausage and vegetable soup.
Jeff Runquist Wines
We couldn’t miss stopping at Jeff Runquist Wines, where our friend Matt (LAST NAME) spoiled us with hospitality and personally poured for us some of his favorites that are now our new favorites! My picks and purchases were the 2018 Primitivo and the 2018 Tempranillo.
The food pairings included a hearty beef and barley stew with their 2017 Primitivo, and Andrae’s delectable brownies perfectly paired with our 2017 Petite Sirah. (Insider tip: Make sure you stop at Andrae’s to pick up a few loaves of their bread and a cookie or two for your trip home!)
We also got to see Jack Gorman from Amador Vintners and congratulate his team for another successful event! [INSERT JACK QUOTE HERE]
The perfect way to end our day was with Matricia at Andis Wines, as we tasted, learned, and reveled in the gorgeous atmosphere of Andis’ tasting room.
By that time, we’d tasted many amazing wines that were paired with a variety of tasty bites, but Andis had what I consider the perfect food pairing – tacos! Not just any tacos, mind you, but tacos made with a whole roasted hog paired with Andis’ Zinfandel. Can you say nirvana?
Overall, we had a fabulous day enjoying Amador’s wines, hospitality, and views.
My wine pal Jeremy Moran, Existential Wine Guy, said it best – “Every winery we visited gave the event their full effort. Great food, music, even winemaker education and special offers. Sometimes, you find a winery or two that that throws a piece of bread at you and that’s it. Not these guys. Every person who bought a ticket got full value for their money!”
And Kara Sather, who’s the Executive Director of the neighboring El Dorado Wine Country AVA, said, “It’s so exciting to see what a great job Amador does putting on their events, and Behind the Cellar Door was no exception. The event was well organized, and the wineries definitely delivered, providing fantastic wine and food pairings. I am proud to work in a mutually supportive environment where different AVAs can come together to support the entire region (Sierra Foothills) a whole!”
My friend Heidi Mayerhofer was similarly impressed. “This event was top notch. Each and every winery I visited had fantastic food pairings and many had music or interactive demonstrations to engage the visitor. I will definitely be bringing my passport back to the area for all the “bounce back” opportunities!”