Therese’s Tasting Notes—
Your Local Guide to the Foothills Wine Scene…
By Therese Pope
While Auburn has its share of amazing wineries, don’t forget to check out the hidden gems tucked away in Loomis. Take a break from the foothills heat and visit Popie Wines! Stop by and taste award-winning wines at their Tasting Room located in the historic Blue Goose Fruit Shed in downtown Loomis. Not only will you sample a delicious array of Sierra Foothills wine, but you’ll receive an interesting wine education from grower and winemaker, Michael Duarte.
Michael is very knowledgeable about winemaking. He comes from a long lineage of growers and working with the land is in his blood. Since 1922, three generations of the Duarte family farmed in the Napa Valley and Michael learned how to grow grapes and make wine from his dad, Richard “Popie” Duarte. Following in his dad’s footsteps, Duarte Family Vineyards produce hand-crafted, European-style wines and Michael is the fourth generation in his family to continue the winemaking tradition here in Placer County.
While Popie produces its share of delicious reds, make sure to try their award-winning rosé wines, which pair perfectly with light summer meals. While most rosé has a tendency to be sweet and fruity, Popie’s rosé wines lean on the dry side. The Sierra Foothills appellation is known for its Mediterranean-type climate which makes Placer County the perfect region for producing rosé. Their Bianca di Barbera is a bone dry European-style rosé that is made from 100% estate grown Barbera grapes.
“Our Bianca di Barbera is a light salmon to peach color because the grapes are whole clustered pressed,” explained Michael. “The grapes aren’t destemmed or crushed and don’t have any skin contact.”
While the Bianca di Barbera leans on the very dry side, their Rosato is an Italian-style, off-dry rosé also made from 100% Barbera grapes. The wine making process for the Rosato is different and the grapes are destemmed and crushed. Then the skins were soaked in their own juices for six hours which gives the Rosato a light red color.
“Our Rosato is a slightly darker color than most rosé,” said Duarte. “The result is a rosé with hints of strawberry and a dry finish.”
Both their Bianca di Barbera and Rosato won Bronze Medals in the 2015 Sonoma Rosé Competition. Their red wines received awards from the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the California State Fair. Their Gamay also won a Silver Medal in the 2015 Concours du Gamay competition in Lyon, France.
Popie is just one of a few wineries located in the Loomis/Lincoln area. Don’t forget to visit Ciotti Cellars, Rock Hill Winery, Secret Ravine Vineyard & Winery and Casque Wines tasting room (located at The Flower Farm).
Popie Wines – Tasting Room Information
Historic Blue Goose Fruit Shed – Downtown Loomis
3550 Taylor Road, Loomis CA 95650
Popie hosts a “Weekend Winedown” every Friday night from 5-9 pm (including live music). For more information about Popie Wines and their upcoming events, visit http://www.popiewines.com
Note: Be safe when hitting the Wine Trail this summer. Please drink responsibly and always designate a non-drinking driver or set up alternate transportation.
Therese Pope is a freelance writer who grew up in Auburn. Her love of wine runs through her veins (thanks to her Sicilian heritage) and believes you don’t have to be a wine expert to enjoy wine. Her monthly blog series showcases the local foothills/Placer County wine scene. Therese’s writing background focuses on the food and beverage industries. You can read more of her specialty wine and beer articles at http://crushbrew.com/author/therese-pope .