Sobon Estate Barbera 2016
Its bright acidity makes it a perfect match for many dishes.
Shenandoah Vineyards in Plymouth, CA, was founded in 1977 by Shirley and Leon Sobon. They moved from Los Altos, California, where Leon was a Senior Scientist with the Lockheed Research Lab. Leon's gift for home winemaking led him to leave Lockheed and begin a new career as a Winemaker.
The selection of a winery site in the Shenandoah Valley of Amador County was well researched. Leon and Shirley and their six children moved to the old Steiner Ranch, outside Plymouth, CA, planted a vineyard, and converted the old stone garage to the Shenandoah Vineyards winery. Sobon Estate was formed with the purchase of the D'Agostini winery in 1989.
As the lower part of the greater Sierra Foothills appellation, Amador is roughly a plateau whose vineyards grow at 1,200 to 2,000 feet in elevation. It is 100 miles east of both San Francisco and Napa Valley. Most of its wineries are in the oak-studded rolling hillsides of Shenandoah Valley or east in Fiddletown, where elevations are slightly higher.
The Sierra Foothills growing area was among the largest wine producers in the state during the gold rush of the late 1800s. The local wine industry enjoyed great success until just after the turn of the century when fortune-seekers moved elsewhere and its population diminished. With Prohibition, winemaking was totally abandoned, along with its vineyards. But some of these, especially Zinfandel, still remain and are the treasure chest of the Sierra Foothills as we know them.
Most Amador vines are planted in volcanic soils derived primarily from sandy clay loam and decomposed granite. Summer days are hot but nighttime temperatures typically drop 30 degrees and the humidity is low, making this an ideal environment for grape growing. Because there is adequate rain throughout the year and even snow in the winter, dry farming is possible.
Friendly and approachable, Barbera produces wines in a wide range of styles, from youthful, fresh and fruity to serious, structured and age-worthy. Piedmont is the most famous source of Barbera; those from Asti and Alba garner the most praise. Barbera actually can adapt to many climates and enjoys success in some New World regions. Somm Secret—In the past it wasn’t common or even accepted to age Barbera in oak but today both styles—oaked and unoaked—abound and in fact most Piedmontese producers today produce both styles.