The Sierra Foothills
Rugged, high in elevation and extreme, the Sierra Foothills runs north to south roughly from Lake Tahoe to Yosemite National Park. A long, spread-out expanse near the city of Sacramento, the area encompasses several sub-regions known in their own right that include Amador County, the Shenandoah Valley, El Dorado, Placer and, further south, Calaveras, a spot made famous by Mark Twain and a jumping frog.
Grapes were first planted here in the early 1800s; many century-old vines still flourish in the Foothills today. While the region’s wines are gaining both in reputation and sophistication, a pioneering spirit remains among growers and winemakers. Not for the faint of heart or the easily lonely, it is a place where vintners have been given time and space to experiment, soulfully searching for magic like the Gold Rushers before them.—Virginie Boone