Calaveras County is a picturesque and remote area in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Popular with outdoorsmen, the region also serves as a northern entrance into Yosemite National Park. In 1865, Mark Twain immortalized the area in his tale of “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”.
Through the 1850s and ‘60s, this was the heart of the Gold Rush. Prospectors of many national origins arrived in the area afflicted with Gold Fever. Those who stayed, notably the French and the Italians, quickly established vineyards and a reputation for producing the best wines in California. Many of these vineyards would long outlive the boom and bust of the Gold Rush and a century and a half later, the red clay and gravelly slopes of Calaveras County are yielding another kind of Mother Lode – the gold medal winning wines of the region.
Calaveras County forms the southern third of the broad Sierra Foothills AVA which also covers much of El Dorado and Amador counties to the north. Vineyards here generally lie between 1500 and 2400 ft in elevation – higher and cooler than those in Amador.
Since Thomas Jefferson first tried to cultivate European vinifera in Virginia, the state has been a decided piece of American wine country. Over the years better knowledge, equipment and materials have all contributed to an advancing wine industry, but the more recent decade or two has brought out the real potential that can be found.
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BLUE BOOK PROFILES
Blue Book Taste Profiles for the Calaveras County County Appellation
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Zinfandel...You’re a master of disguise. Who is that masked man known as ZIN? You hide behind a mask