Lake county ca tasting room recs?

Heading that direction and will have a little time to drop by a tasting room or two


I was up there in July and had really good experiences at both GregGraham and Rosa d’Oro. Rosa specializes
in Italian varietals, some pretty obscure, and pretty reasonable prices. But don’t expect them to resemble
their Italian counterparts.
Steele sometimes has some interesting wines as well.

+1 on the Steele stuff. Depending on what you are looking for, perhaps dig around a bit to find stuff that is more vineyard driven. But all of it is solid and good to drink. Very good QPR as well, from my POV. Some of the Zins are very nice. The Shooting Star Barbera is usually GREAT QPR for a house red. Great people too! Disclaimer: We are friends with them.

PS. If you go there, let them know it was suggested here. I have spoken to them about this crazy place…

Yup, Andrew…sorta. I generally like the wines, find them fairly interesting, and very well priced. Some of the best coming out of LakeCnty.
However…I also find them a biit of a disappointment. Back in the late-'70’s/early '80’s; JedSteele was the winemaker at EdmeadesWnry up in the
AndersonVlly. At that time, he made some of the greatest Zins and Cabernets ever made in Calif. The CortiReserve/Edmeades Cab ‘78 was maybe the
finiest Calif Cab I ever tasted. His wines could stand up w/ the best of any being made in Calif at that time. But, since he started SteeleWines, he has never
again repeated wines of that stature…some even from the same vnyd (like DuPratt). Jed knows what great wines are…he knows how to make them.
So…everytime I taste another Steele wine…I shake my head in puzzlement and pine for the good ole days. Livin’ in the past, I guess.

Yes, Tom, I have heard this viewpoint about Jed from you. A few point:

If you had never tasted those wines in the past, what you you say about the wines now?

To me, quality, consistency and QPR are all very high.

Jed is a great guy and a great winemaker. I don’t speak for him and am not going to put words his mouth. I do have a guess: The reality of running a business that produces and sells 100k cases of wine per year might have certain implication on what styles of wine a producer might need to make. I am not saying that I think he does not care about wine nuts like Tom Hill, or everyone here for that matter, but I am saying I think he does care about his consumers and making a wine that they want to drink. A wine being great or not is partly a function of how well the person judging likes the style of the wine. I think his wines are impeccably executed. Some I like better than others, for stylistic reasons and how my pallet has developed growing up here at Briceland. In the end, the reason to make wine is for it to be enjoyed. In that sense, Steele is a huge success.

FWIW, when you talk about producing 100k cases/year, it is a bit deceiving. Steele is really a big small winery. They do LOTS of pretty small batches. If you look at the entire list of labels that the winery puts out in a year including Shooting Star, Writers Block (Quincy’s) Steele and Stymie, you can quickly conclude that nothing can be in a very big batch.

If you want, I can talk to Jed, Quincy or the GM, Steve Tilicky (an ace vit. guy) and get a list of which of the wines that they think stand out. Then, put them is a blind lineup. See how you like them that way.

It sounds like you and I agree on the QPR part at least, and probably more.


Yup, Andrew…I think we pretty much agree about Jed’s current wines. They are consistent and they are great QPRs. Quality?? Yup…good solid/sound/interesting wines that speak well of their varieties and
probably of the vnyds. I think as good as anything coming out of LakeCnty nowadays.
But my view of Jed’s wines are badly tainted by what he had done at Edmeades. Those were, to me, exciting and profound wines. Wines that I sought out. Wines as good as any made in Calif at that
time. I can’t describe his wines these days in those terms. And I have no reason to fault him for not making wines that appeal to wine nuts like myself. I’m sure it’s much more profitable and sound
business practice to make the style of wines he now does.
I’ve know Jed since the mid-'70’s when we met at DarrellCorti’s. And we’ve crossed paths several times over the yrs at various wine events; though not in the last 10 yrs or so. Only met Quincy once
at an AWS convention in Vegas about '05. But I’m pretty certain Jed would have no recollect of me. But next time you are visiting w/ him, I’d be interested on what his take now is on those Zins and Cabs
he made at Edmeades back long/long ago. I thought they were profound and exceptional wines by anybody’s standard. But people change and if he has no interest in making those kind of wines anymore,
so be it. That’s his choice.
It’s sorta like when I taste the current Chalone wines. I sorta shake my head in wonderment…what happened?? These were, at one time, certifiably the greatest Chards and Pinots made in all
Calif. Nowdays, they’re good/solid wines, decent values… but there’s nothing about them that compels me to seek them out. And I’m sure they’re much more profitable under Diageo than they
were during the Graff/Woodward yrs. Same w/ Jed’s wines. I, across the board, like the wines, feel they’re good values and I try them every opportunity I have to. But they’re not wines
I feel compelled to search out anymore. Obviously, my view is distorted by those wines of long ago.