El Dorado Ava, CA, United States
Sam Patterson’s mother got him a subscription to Wine Spectator magazine when he left home for San Diego Mesa College and after reading the classic enology textbook “Wine: An Introduction,” by Maynard A. Amerine and Vernon L. Singleton of UC Davis, Sam decided to transfer to UC Davis, where he earn a combined degree in viticulture and enology in 1998.
He went on to work at Charles Krug Winery and in 2001 became director of vineyard operations for Renwood Winery in Amador County, a position he held until he established his own vineyard-management company in 2006.
Sam and wife Kimari made their first wine in a small building on the site, but then outgrew that space and began to produce their wines elsewhere before building a dedicated winery on the property in 2013. It is here, in a tasting room located in a remodeled farmhouse in California, that they produce outstanding Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Grenache from their organic and sustainable vineyard.
Owner: Sam and Kimari Patterson
Winemaker: Sam Patterson
Annual Production: 7,000 cases
Winery Location: located in a remodeled farmhouse in California
Vineyard Location: Fair Pain Region, El Dorado County, Sierra Nevada Foothills
Quick Facts on El Dorado Ava
HISTORY: Dates to the California Gold Rush of the mid-19th century. The arrival of thousands of thirsty European immigrants created an explosion in the demand for wine; by 1870 the county was the third-largest wine region in California.
TODAY: El Dorado offers nearly 100 distinct varietals because of it’s unique positioning. The terroir of El Dorado AVA is an infinitely complex one which allows for a broader range of plantings.
TERROIR: Located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains east of Sacramento, vineyards are found with elevations between 1,200 feet and 3,500 feet. The region benefits from the cool breezes that come off the mountains and push hot air off the vines and down to the valley. Five major agricultural soil types and hundreds of sub types are found here, many influenced by the presence of decomposed granitic and volcanic material.
How We Met
My co-buyer back in the day, Tim Marson MW, knew Bodegas Tabula from his years at Bibendum, UK. On his first trip to Prowein with our team (I think it was 2012) he took me to visit the indefatigable proprietor, José Luis Muñoz. His Riberas were no joke! Poised and dense, these are statuesque versions of Tempranillo. Even his entry Damana 5 benefits from a little decanting, and then poof, it’s off to the races with his Gran Tabula.