Lava Cap Winery

Published August 3, 2013

What does it tell ya that a family of geologists chose a special site in El Dorado County to grow their grapes? Well, we all know that better vines grow on better soils. But you may not know that volcanic soils exist in the Sierra Foothills. You may also not know that the lava left behind is the foundation for the intensely flavored wines at Lava Cap Winery.

Lava Cap Winery

Intensely flavored wines come from cool vines. Lava Cap’s vines are cooled by the high El Dorado elevation rather than fog. The extra sunshine means vines can ripen fully without developing that gritty herbaceous flavor you get in some Cabernet Sauvignons that taste like green bell pepper. These vines also do not get overwhelmingly high acidity and longer hang time is how they develop uniformly, avoiding the tendency to get prune flavors.

But their wines tell a better story along with all their awards. Of three Zinfandels, all had deep dark plum berry flavors but the first had a bit of floral on the nose, the second had a spicy long finish, and the third had the same fruit with a creamy texture. I know creamy is not something typically used to describe a zin– let alone a red wine. But you’d have to try it to believe and this may be Lava Cap’s most recognizable representation.

But stay for their Barbera, which has enough acidity to be an Italian stallion but big ripe luscious fruit, body, and an intensely long finish. It’s your go-to wine for rich cheeses and creamy pasta sauces.

More appellation adventures from my month in this region.


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