Thursday, January 6, 2011



Bob, Nguyen, Richard and I left the little villages of Locke and Walnut Grove and drove on the levees of the delta back toward the heart of Sacramento, but first - a little wine tasting along the way at the Bogle Winery.

That tasting room and ‘cellar’ are housed in a big wooden “A” frame-style building
next to the winery's wine making equipment...

by one of its vineyards...

and amid lovely lawns that are perfect for picnicking (and tasting). 

But we had already eaten (you remember – the Eisenhower era Tony’s Steakhouse ) and it was too cold and dreary to sit at the picnic tables so the tasting room was the place to be.

I love going to wineries and having a ‘flight’ (or two)… I especially love it when the tasting is free, and free it is at Bogle.

I didn’t know much about this winery – didn’t even know it was nestled along the Sacramento River in ‘Delta country’ just outside California’s capital.  What I did know was that over the years I had frequently enjoyed its nice buttery chardonnay for less than ten bucks a bottle, but that was the extent of my knowledge.

Our “barista,” Milo, was as smooth as a nice Bordeaux.  As we sipped the wines...

...he filled us in on the history of the winery.  We learned that after years of Bogle family farming, the first grapes for the winery were planted in 1968 by father and son, Warren and Chris Bogle.  When Chris Bogle died, his widow, Patty, catapulted Bogle from 150,000 cases a year to more than a million.

Today the vineyard has more than 1,500 acres, 1,200 of which are in the Delta region.  One of the goals of the winery is to be ‘sustainable’ (the new buzz word in food and wine re: the environment and reducing carbon footprints) and use the resources close to home.  And, Bogle tries to stay as ‘organic’ as possible and doesn’t use chemical herbicides and pesticides or radiation treatments.  As important as these considerations are, the ultimate goal is to make good wines to be sold at reasonable prices.

I think they’ve achieved that goal.

Our first tasting was a 2009 sauvignon blanc ($9.00 - $7.65 a bottle by the case).   I normally don’t care for sauvignon blanc, but for the price I thought it was not too light, w/ a nice mix of fruit and nut flavors.

Next was 2009 Ghost du Blanc (Milo told us that the Scottish name “Bogle” means “ghost” or “phantom”) a blend of 58% chardonnay and 42% viognier grapes ($18.00).  I really, really liked it.  Full bodied w/ a nice kind of papaya/apricot taste on the tongue.

On to the reds:

We started w/ the 2007 Ghosts du Roam (a clever play on Cotes du Rhone dreamed up by the vintners), a blend of 82% grenach, 13% syrah and 5% mourvedre, which had a nice toasty spice finish ($20.00).  A most definite thumbs up.

The 2008 merlot ($9.00 – case discount, $7.65 a bottle) was subtle in its suggestion of plum and cherry.  A nice wine for the price.

I also liked the 2006 Reserve cab ($20.00) and the 2007 Reserve Zin ($20.00), both full-bodied and rich in flavor.

My two favorites, however, were… the 2007 Phantom  petite syrah blend made of grapes from old zin vines and old mourvedre vines ($16.00).  I could definitely taste the dark fruit, pepper and those “hints” of cinnamon and nutmeg, as advertised by the tasting room wine list.

My #2 favorite was the 2007 petite sirah port ($18.00) that was pure silk.  Rich w/ a ‘taste’ of cocoa.  A perfect, affordable port that boggles the taste buds.  We brought a bottle to our Christmas dinner at our close friends’ home and it put a sweet, comforting capper on the evening.

Bottom line:  Is Bogle a good find?  Most definitely.  My brother liked the wines so much that he joined the wine club on the spot.  Hope he saves a bottle or two for us the next time we visit.

Tasting done, we bid farewell to Milo and left as the sun was setting…

I’ve always wanted to happily ride off into the sunset.   I did that day.

Bogle Vineyards
37783 Country Road 144
Clarksburg, CA 95612


Barbara said...

I will give the wines a try!

bobsaari said...

I have to say that Bogle is the best "Bang for Your Bucks" wines in CA. I am not a white guy... The reds are what I like... The "Old Vine" Zin, which I have seen well under ten bucks a bottle, is one of the better buys on the planet. Plus, the folks there are just best.... A true Sacramento region wonder... Let me add that I bought the old vine zin for my daughter's wedding rehearsal dinner. The East Coast folks loved it... But then again, what do they know?

Brooke said...

Great minds....and taste buds think alike!

We also just discovered the Bogle Phantom and have served it over the past few weeks for a variety of meals.
Great buy - We will have to check out your #1 pick!

ilona saari said...

LOL... I guess you can't call yourself an east coaster anymore, Bob... tho I still am. ;o)

Lana said...

I really like Bogle wines, as well. Just discovered them over the past holidays. Some varieties are availble at Trader Joe's.