The Best Winery in Amador County
The Best Winery in Amador County
It’s a hot summer day, and you’ve tasted at a few places in Amador County. They are okay; not bad, but not great. You’re a little buzzed, your mouth is dry, and you’re wondering as you come around the bend, if the place up on the right is worth visiting. On a whim, your driver pulls into a long driveway, where you see a sign that says, “Karmère.”
From the moment you walk into the cool tasting room at Karmère and see straight through to the picturesque vineyard, you know that you’re in for a treat. And look, not only do they have two tasting areas, they have barrel tasting too. There are lots of different wines to try at Karmère: a few bubblies, a few whites, and a lot of reds!
If you’re lucky, you’ll run into Hayley, the daughter that their Hayley Zinfandel is named after! Among the reds, you’ll find Zinfandels, Syrahs, Barberas and blends; and a killer table wine that comes in a jug.
Karmère has been in the family for five generations, and they continue to keep it in the family. As previously mentioned, the Hayley Zinfandel is named after a family member, but she isn’t the only Karmère family member with that honor. In fact, nearly all of their wines are named after the females in the family!
As you work your way down their list of zins and syrahs, you can’t help but notice the beautiful artwork on the bottles that just ties everything together. Their tasting room is large and often has a lot of people in it, as this is one of the more popular places for a reason, but don’t let the size fool you, this still feels like a family run boutique winery. When you’re done tasting, take a moment to go outside in the back, sit down and enjoy the gorgeous scenery.
Alas, there is a problem. You see, not too far down the road lie’s the small, quaint, winery that goes by the name of Dillian; and it is after you visit them that you realize, the title of this article is now incorrect. Indeed, it should have read “The Best Wineries in Amador County!” because Dillian Wines is right on par with Karmère, tied for first place in my book, and that’s just how things always have been and always will be.
Well, there are definitely reasons. For starters it’s the warm welcoming you get from the owner, Tom Dillian, and the contagious smile of the expert wine pourer Jeff!
Dillian makes about ten or so wines including a breathtaking Syrah that is a must have. Dillian also makes a superb blend that they call a Vino Nostro that has a mixture of Zinfandel, Syrah and Barbera.
Lastly, if you like dessert wine (like a port), but are not a wine aficionado, they have a dessert wine from a grape you may not have heard of yet called orange Muscat. It’s a type of grape used for making this particular dessert wine. Often times, wineries will make this very syrupy, which isn’t the most pleasant of textures for a wine. Dillian’s makes theirs crisp, non syrupy and just plain delicious. As you taste it, your head flutters with all sorts of ideas on what to pair it with.
You will find it incredibly hard not to walk away from either of these places without buying something. Their prices are more than reasonable, averaging around $18 - $24 per bottle at both places. If you are new to wine tasting, you should know that a great little secret about Amador County is that the wine tasting is free. Support these wineries, as well as the others so they can keep it free!
Karmère is located at 11970 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth, CA, 95669. Their tasting room hours are 11am-5pm daily.
Dillian is located at 12138 Steiner Road, Plymouth, CA, 95669. Their tasting room hours are 11am-4:30pm Fri-Sun.
Amador County is about an hour drive from the South and East Sacramento areas and surrounding cities. It’s a little more than an hour drive from the Stockton area.
Karmère picture is property of Karmère (www.karmere.com).
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The Best Amador County Wineries
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