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Thursday, December 30, 2010

BEST OF 2010: Winery and Brewery

Travel should be fun!  One way we like to have fun on vacation is to visit local vintners and breweries to see what great wines and beers we can try.  Sometimes, we have gone on a trip just to try the wines, like we did in Napa Valley and Amador County last year.  Here are our picks for the best winery and brewery we went to last year:


Story Winery makes some great zinfandels.  I really like their Red Passion Zin and their Miss Zin which is a 50/50 blend of zinfandel and mission grapes.  While this is all well and good, visiting Story Winery takes the experience to a whole new level.  


It takes some persistence to find this little tasting room, in an old miner's shack, located down a series of ever smaller winding country roads.  Once you do get there, past the sign warning equally to beware of rattlesnakes and not drinking another wine maker's product on the premises, you are rewarded with a cool glass of champagne before you even think about tasting the wine.


But do go ahead and taste.  The wines...especially the reds...are spectacular and the staff are fun and down-to-earth.  Bring a picnic, buy a bottle, and step outside to one of the most spectacular picnic areas on earth where you can enjoy your lunch and wine at the edge of the Consumnes River canyon overlooking the rows of old vine zinfandel trailing down the hillside.


Not far from the tourist mega center of the Disneyland Resort, off of the Chapman exit of the 57 freeway near the junction of the 5, an anonymous industrial park holds a great beer find.  The Bruery makes an assortment of ales, mostly Belgian style, that are truly awe inspiring.  Only open on weekend nights, go here and you'll think you're finding a particular good speakeasy from the prohibition days.


Each time we go, we find another brew worthy of taking home.  They also brewed a sour Flemish style ale that took a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.  Unfortunately, they ran out and are now in the middle of the 18 month (!) process of making the next batch.


On certain days they also tap a keg and pour via the only hand-pump tap I've ever seen in America.


Congratulations to our winners.  


You might also like to take a look at our Year in Review.


-Darryl

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