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Today's Wine:

2012 Uphill Estate Tempranillo

2012 Uphill Estate Tempranillo Amador County, Sierra Foothills

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Today's Wine Comments:

4★ Rated - Online Wine Geeks

This is a seriously fruit forward tempranillo that drinks like a rich juicy zinfandel. Not entirely suprising based on its homebase *the home to ZIN's oldest vines. So suffice it to say, our Panel of longtime Rioja and Ribera del Duero lovers, was intrigued when we heard an Amador County winery was explicitly harnessing the old world style of one of our favorite varietals.

Things to Know:

Uphill Vineyards added Tempranillo to their winemaking repertoire after being impressed with the Spanish varietal’s versatility in California vineyards, but, vintage after vintage, they’ve sought to preserve the Spanish style, as opposed to the Californian, which is what excited us. 

  • Accolades from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition only wetted our thirst even more.
  • Consulting winemaker Marco Cappelli was the man for the job: he cut his teeth in Napa Valley for 20 years, to great success, and also spent significant amounts of time in Europe and Australia honing his craft.  This is a winemaker well-versed in the wide-ranging terroirs of the great winemaking regions of the world, and in the Sierra Foothills his “skills and knowledge have proved to in high demand.”
  • Six years after what was a great, almost excellent vintage for the Sierra Foothills, the 2012 Uphill Tempranillo is showing fantastically and has definitely raised the bar for the entire region.

Deep ruby red color, leather and cherries on the nose, with bright, lively fruit, good acid, and a long finish on the palate.

From the winery:

Farming winegrapes and making premium wines, even for a small operation like ours, requires a vast amount of specialized knowledge and experience.  Part art and part science. Finese and a bit of brute force.  We are grateful and proud to have some great people on our team.

Our vineyards are located at an elevation of 2400 feet in Fiddletown in the Sierra Foothills of Amador County, California. The vineyards are on a south by southwest slope and are cooled by breezes during the day and at night, tempering the hot sun and dropping the temperature substantially. Our site is cooler by about five degrees than the California Shenandoah Valley, which means our grapes bud later and ripen later than in the valley.

The first vineyard, of five acres, was planted in 2007 and undulates across both simple and compound slopes.  Large Ponderosa pines dot the vineyard, providing perches for birds, adding to the beauty, and creating a sense of scale.  This vineyard is divided into six blocks of five varieties: Zinfandel, Primitivo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo (2), and Tannat.  Land has been cleared for the second vineyard, which will be planted in spring 2014.

Luckily, this wine will pair with an array of amazing dishes. Try it with lasagna, chile rellenos, or grilled meat. 

Wine Ratings

92 Insider Points

Wine Reviews

Spanish Tempranillo? Nay, Sierra Foothills, and Boy is It Good

I'm a huge tempranillo fan. Scratch that, I'm a tempranillo fiend. It is the grape that first made me realize I love wine in my college days. So needless to say, it has a special place in my heart. Of course, that was a Spanish Tempranillo, but you know one thing I noticed as I was traveling through Spain? It looks almost exactly like California! One of the reasons I felt right at home over there. As such, with very similar terrain and climate, Amador County is a prime area for the varietal, and Uphill's 2012 vintage showed me just how well we Californians can grow it. Makes sense, given all of our history with the former powerhouse country. 

Earthy berry and tobacco on the nose. Full-bodied on the palate, with rich texture and flavors of cherrywood, cranberry skins, red currant and tanned leather. A sort of in between of Rioja and Ribera del Duero, with a medium, savory finish. A must-have for the hearty red lvoer in your life. 92 Points - JZ July '18

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