Sutter Creek, a gold rush town in Amador County, California draws visitors for its history, antique shops, architecture, and “vintage” Main Street. But this cheerful, inviting town, just an hour from Sacramento, also attracts wine lovers to its eclectic wine tasting rooms. Sprinkled throughout a convenient four-block radius it’s easy to visit all of the in-town wineries on foot.
Wine on 49 Represents Five Wine Tasting Rooms in Sutter Creek
Wine on 49, named after the Old Route 49 that runs through town, represents five of the best tasting rooms in Sutter Creek. Amador County is known for Zinfandel, Barbera, and Rhone-style wines. Although too hot for Chardonnay, white wines like Vermentino and Viognier thrive in this warm wine region. The five Wine on 49 wineries reside throughout different parts of Amador County and the Sierra Foothills. But visitors can enjoy their wines simply by visiting their Sutter Creek tasting rooms.
Wine on 49 regularly hosts events throughout the year to promote their Sutter Creek tasting rooms and the fantastic wine from this region. On the day we visited, the Wildflowers and Wine event was taking place. Celebrating spring and the wildflowers that bloom throughout the foothills, each tasting room featured local chefs and local food paired with three different wines.
Whether you visit during a special wine event or find yourself here on a quiet day, you’ll delight in discovering what each one of these tasting rooms has to offer.
Le Mulet Rouge
When you step inside Le Mulet Rouge’s tasting room you’ll be instantly welcomed by the warm and friendly tasting room manager, Tamara Richards. In fact, some of the wine club members we talked to told us she is the reason they like to visit here. The rustic, elegant tasting room, housed in a historic 1800s building, features plenty of space to sit, relax, and sip. Its dramatic walls are built with stones. Slats from repurposed wine barrels create a unique and decorative wall between two rooms that provide ample seating.
Tracy Hart, winemaker and owner makes handcrafted wines from her estate vineyards in Fiddletown. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Viognier feature prominently on the tasting room menu. But it’s the 2016 Artisan, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec that ranks as my favorite.
We started our Wildflowers and Wine Event at Le Mulet Rouge and what a kickoff to a fantastic day! Our first course, with food prepared by Jason Clevenger, included a spring salad of baby greens, spinach, English cucumber, crispy shallots, and citron vinaigrette. To complement the fresh dressing, Le Mulet Rouge served its aromatic Viognier, with notes of fresh peach and mango. It finished with a twist of lime.
Our second course included charred asparagus, spring peas, fresh mozzarella, and pesto served with the delightful 2016 Artisan. We finished with cider braised pork belly, apricot-golden raisin chutney, and cherry gastrique. The dish paired perfectly with the luscious 2017 Syrah.
Scott Harvey Wines
Scott Harvey Wines is a “must” on your visit to Sutter Creek. An icon in Amador County, Scott Harvey has been making wine for 48 years. Influenced by winemaking in Germany, he cut his teeth on Riesling and still produces it today. Amador County is known for its Barbera, and Harvey says this is his favorite red. In 2004, he sold Menage a Trois and Folie au Deux wineries. Then he moved to Amador County and started Scott Harvey Wines.
The interior of the tasting room is warm, friendly, and compact. However, on the second floor of this historic building a spacious sunlit room exists. It contains a huge wooden dining table with ample seating for a leisurely wine tasting experience. And out the back door, plentiful outdoor seating, shaded by red umbrellas, is also available.
For our food and wine pairing, we sampled the 2019 Mountain Selection Zinfandel, a light bodied red. It paired with a botanical spring roll complete with edible flowers accompanied by a peanut dipping sauce. The 2019 J and S Reserve Barbera, with notes of Bing cherry and tobacco, paired perfectly with a spring Italian pinwheel sandwich. And finally, the 2020 Tickle Me Pink, an effervescent Rosé blend, paired with a cherry almond cupcake ended the tasting on a delicious, sweet note.
Baiocchi Wines‘ tasting room features an extensive patio in front that stretches to the sidewalk. Seven wrought iron tables, some large enough to seat up to eight people, were scattered across the patio, shaded by bright red umbrellas. The tasting room often features music on weekends and this day was no exception. On the porch of the historic house turned tasting room, a musical duo sang songs from the 70s.
Owner and winemaker Greg Baiocchi welcomed the crowd and introduced each wine as they were served. Bistro 49, a brand-new gourmet restaurant in Sutter Creek, provided the food.
The Viognier, with aromas of honeysuckle, stone fruit, and melon paired with a beet salad, goat cheese, orange pieces, and a gingerbread crouton. The second course featured a blackened gulf prawn over creamy polenta served with the delightful 2016 G Minor. This red is a blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Tempranillo, and 15% Syrah or a GTS as winemaker Baiocchi called it (a play on the GSM acronym).
And finally, we tasted my favorite of the three wines, a 2015 Sprezzatura, a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache. Paired with a slice of grilled trip tip, greens, and a balsamic based sauce brought us to the end of this lovely stop at Baiocchi.
The Yorba Wines‘ tasting room opens onto Hanford Street just off the corner of Main. It spills out onto a back porch with room for three tables and then downstairs into the shaded garden. Delightful smells of asparagus grilling on the BBQ below wafted up to our seat overlooking Hayden Alley. The singer below sang tunes from Van Morrison. Abundant fresh flowers decorated the tables in commemoration of the day’s theme.
We started with the 2019 Rosado, a bright wine of fresh strawberries, cranberries, and mouthwatering acidity. Served with prosciutto wrapped asparagus it made a tasty combination. A 2014 Barbera with notes of blueberry and pomegranate, and a 2013 Zinfandel, with ripe berry aromas and baking spices came next. The food pairing for both included a spring cassoulet of chicken, blackened spinach, and tarbais beans.
Bella Grace Vineyards
Bella Grace Vineyard’s tasting room, located in an 1860s era house on Main Street, remains one of my favorite places to taste wine in the area. An expansive grassy area and patio provide a lovely space for wine tasting outside. A tent and space heaters offer warmth and protection to guests on cooler days. Some limited seating exists inside. But it’s worth a wander through this remarkably preserved house to peruse the extensive olive oil collection available for purchase.
Winemaker and co-owner Michael Havill makes a wide variety of award-winning wines. They include an Amador Barbera, an Amador County Zinfandel, an Old Vine Zinfandel, an Estate Albariño, and a crisp, delicious Vermentino. But my favorite is the Estate Mourvèdre, a silky luscious wine that pairs well with roasted lamb, stews, or any complex dish.
So, I was happy to finish off the day of wine tasting with a stop at Bella Grace. Our first course, couscous with Bella Grace Lemon Olive Oil, toasted pine nuts, and Zinfandel cherries paired beautifully with the 2021 Estate Vermentino. Next, we enjoyed grilled flank steak and halloumi cheese drizzled with Bella Grace Crema Balsamic and paired with the 2018 Amador Barbera. With notes of plum and dark cherry, the Barbera lived up to its reputation as one of Amador County’s best wines. And finally, we munched on chocolates and berries drizzled with Bella Grace Raspberry Balsamic while we sipped on the 2014 Vino Doce, a Colheita dessert wine aged for 7 years.
Wine on 49
For five hours we enjoyed five food and wine pairings at five wine tasting rooms all within a short walking distance of each other. What a day! Whether you choose to power through them like we did on a warm spring day or take your time and spend a few days here, you will love wine tasting in Sutter Creek. Visit Wine on 49 for more information on this collection of tasting rooms and upcoming events.