Shenandoah Valley Wine

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The unique Zinfandel grapes of California's Shenandoah Valley rescued this area from obscurity in the wine world. First settled during the Gold Rush by a group from Virginia, the valley produced wine in the late 1800s, but it did not experience a wine boom until well into the 20th century. During the 1960s and 1970s, most of the grapes were sold to jug wine producers. The first steps towards creating an individual identity began in the late 1970’s, when Sutter Home Winery began using the Shenandoah’s distinctive, heavy and jammy Zinfandel grapes to make a regionally-labeled wine. This put the Valley back on the wine map and in January, 1983, it gained appellation status. The AVA, which spreads into portions of Amador and El Dorado counties, encompasses 10,000 acres, with over 2,000 acres under vine. There are now 16 local wineries, while many of the large California producers continue to access Shenandoah Valley grapes on contract. Of course, the dominant and most highly-regarded grape here is Zinfandel Read more »

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Popular wines made in Shenandoah Valley under $20

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Varietals Produced in Shenandoah Valley View all

  • Barbera

    History of the grape: Barbera is a native to the Piedmont, where it has been growing for centuries, and is now the fo...

  • Zinfandel

    Parentage of the grape: Crljenak to Austria to America. In the 1970s, claims surfaced that the Italian Primitivo is l...

  • Sangiovese

    Prounounced “San-joh-vay-say,” this Italian wine varietal is Tuscany’s #1 red wine grape. It’s the pistol of Central ...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Syrah

    The irony here is that Syrah’s origins could give Carmen Sandiego a run for her international wallet. Syrah’s deepest...

  • Viognier

    History of the grape: Viognier is thought to be an indigenous grape of Croatia that was brought to the Rhone in Franc...

Popular Wineries in Shenandoah Valley View all

  • Toogood Estate Wine Caves

    From the moment you enter the cave, you know you are in a special place. With the scent of oak an...

  • Villa Toscano Winery & Bistro

    The wines produced from the vineyards in the Shenandoah Valley are renowned for their deep fruit ...

  • TKC Winery

    TKC Vineyards is nestled in the heart of the quiet Amador County wine country, renowned for some ...

  • Traverso Wines

    Our wine reflects a carefully balanced blend of modern wine-making techniques with the artistry, ...

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Shenandoah Valley on Snooth

  • Easton Zinfandel California Shenandoah Valley Estate Bottled 2010


    Fairly oaky on the nose with lots of coffee accents to the black and plummy nose. Bright firm and well defined in the mouth, with bright acids supporting tart red berry fruit, framed by lovely peppery and almost gin like accents. Focused in the mouth with gorgeous fruit, fine edgy tannins and floral finish. 91pts Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • Diarie Primitivo Estate Block #4 Shenandoah Valley 2009


    "Light" appearing ,more red-than-purple color in the glass. Light blackberry and maybe a hint of mint aromas on the nose. Initial mouth impression is that this is a very light red wine. There are some, not a lot, berry flavors. If I stretch, I almost get some lemon. Maybe tea leaves. Not a complex wine at all. Would be good with grilled c... Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Jon, it was the Comme Ca Brasserie at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.It was a pretty ... 2009 Estate Grown Block #4 Shenandoah Valley and the same maker's 2009 Break Away Sierra Foothills Zinfandel.  I have been pleased with previous wines that I have had from Di Arie--they are very reasonably priced, are good food wines and, generally, represent the ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?

  • Rockbridge Vineyard Red Bordeaux Blend Dechiel Reserve Meritage 2008


    Not much going on with this Virginia bordeaux blend. A little flat, maybe past its prime. Dominated by the cab franc mustiness with just a hint of the cab sauv lingering. Light to moderate tannins, dried cherry and prune with some green pepper on the back end. Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0

  • Glen Manor Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2011


    Not as grassy as some Sauvignon Blancs, but still very characteristic. Strong citrus, especially grapefruit and maybe a little chalk on the finish. Read More

    Wine review by worldsmith

  • Shenandoah Vineyards Zinfandel Special Reserve 2011


    This 2011 is very ripe without being hot or over ripe. Nice fruit with soft tannins. Obviously late harvested at 14.5% Alc. Cocoa dominates but there is also black fruit. Has tartrate crystals, a good thing. Nice rich garnet color but not inky. My rating-- 91 UPDATE- There are bottles of this wine that are nothing like what I have described ab... Read More

    Wine review by Zuiko

  • Calabria Vineyards Zinfandel Fiddletown 2010


    well balanced, fruity nose, slight pepper finish Read More

    Wine review by Suzanneee

  • Easton Zinfandel Amador County 2011


    A well balanced wine. Has a big nose of blackberry and sweet candy, and hints of spice. More spicy ripe fruit on the palate, dominantly tastes of blackberry but also has notes of dried fruit/rasins/fig - all well balanced by acid. Definitely has distinct vanilla notes; presumably from the oak. Good acid and some ripe tannin. Read More

    Wine review by JenniferT

  • Easton Zinfandel California Shenandoah Valley Estate Bottled 2010


    Wooly and a bit wild on the nose with bright aromas of blueberry and blackberry fruit. Bright and juicy in the mouth with a super smooth, refined mouthfeel that sees polished tannins floating under great wild blackberry and boysenberry fruit. The acidity here is juicy and lends an almost lime fruit quality to the palate. 91 points Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • Easton Zinfandel Amador County 2011


    Nice and precise on the nose, with slightly herbal, chaparral brush and edgy, wild berry fruit aromas. In the mouth there are lovely herbal shadings to the core of dark cherry fruit. This is smooth and supple, with nice soft tannins and integrated acidity, and while it does turn just a little jammy on the finish, its a very happy wine. 90 points Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

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