Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Hovey Winery

My Mark Twain country adventure panning for gold and searching for jumping frogs in Gold Rush/Calaveras County was almost over.  I found no gold and didn't see one frog, jumping or otherwise, but I did find liquid gold up in them thar hills and I had one last winery I wanted to check out.

Tucked back off Main Street in the quaint town of Murphys, Richard, Bob, Nguyen and I walked down the path to a charming little bungalow that serves as Hovey's tasting room.

Inside, the room is bright and cheerful.

Neriah was our knowledgeable and lovely barista.

As she poured our flight she told us that after being a respected winemaker for 30 years, Chuck Hovey launched his own label in 2008 and I have to say, the wine is definitely fine.  It seems we saved the best for last.

We started off with the 2013 White Blend ($20) consisting of 55% verdego, 25% vermentino and 20% viognier, aged in stainless steel to a crisp fruity flavor.  Perfect to sip sitting by a tennis court, under an umbrella, after a tough doubles match... order a cheese plate and fruit to "go with."

Next up was the 2013 Chardonnay ($20) which was voted the best white wine in the Mother Lode Gold, 2014 Orange County Fair and I loved it.  Fruity, yes - tastes of pineapple and mangos - but buttery, the way I like it.

The reds were equally impressive.  The 2012 C2 Red Blend ($26) is 38% cinsaut, 24% graciano, 24% syrah, and 14% petite syrah...  hurrah, hurrah!  OK, bad rhyme, but delish wine with a jammy, red fruit flavor.

Then came the 2012 Barbera ($26) voted best red wine & double gold at the 2014 Calaveras County Fair and silver at the Orange County Fair.  Rich berry flavor, wonderful nose - all and all, a lovely red.

The 2012 Zinfandel ($26) won gold at the 2014 Orange County Fair and it hit all the right zin notes... blackberries and ripe plums danced in my head, sans fairies. Good thing, though, the fairies might have diverted my attention and I would have missed that wonderful taste of toasty mocha.

The last two tastes were "off-the-flight" but true flights of fancy.  The first was Hovey Block 9 Petite Syrah ($36) - definitely a fine wine.

And last, but so not the least, was the Isabel 2012 Cabernet ($36) - named for Chuck Hovey's beautiful grandmother, this wine is just plain luscious with wonderful tastes of black current and dark chocolate.  Straw please!

To paraphrase wine reviewers...   Hovey gets 99 points!!!  (Well, nothing's perfect).

Hovey Winery
350 A Main Steet
Murphys, Calif.  95247

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