I traveled up to El Dorado wine country last week (more on that later) and got to visit one of my favorite California winemakers – Hank Beckmeyer of La Clarine Farm. If you’re wondering where the El Dorado region is, it sits about halfway between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe and it’s freaking beautiful. I don’t know why in the hell it took me so long to get up there. Anyway, I dropped by Hank’s house, met his animals, tasted some wine and chatted. A quick stop, but a lovely morning nonetheless.
The cool thing about El Dorado is it’s still finding its identity. While Rhone grape varieties grow really well there, so do some Italian grapes and even oddball things like Petit Manseng. Hank just released a 100% Petit Manseng, from a handful of rows in the Fenaughty vineyard, and it was fantastic. It was the first taste of wine I had that day and it surely woke me up. It was straight up zinging with acidity. So clean, bright and refreshing. There are only like 12 cases for southern California and Domaine LA got one of them. There are probably only a few bottles left, so jump on it.
This is Aioli. Aioli likes to jump on people and get really excited, but that’s OK. Because cuteness. Not pictured – Tapenade. Also cute and a jumper. Winery dogs are just the best.
You know what else is the best? Winery goats.
La Clarine used to also be a working goat farm. Hank and his wife gave up the milk and cheese side of the business, but still keep several goats on the property. And who doesn’t love goats? Weirdos.
Please seek out Hank’s wines. They are special and affordable, drinkable and ageable.