Did you know there is a fully functioning winery in Midtown? Neither did I. I was up to date with the local breweries and coffee shops that grind their own beans, of course, but I did not expect grape stomping in midtown! And it is delicious. Well, it is Sacramento, so maybe that goes without saying.
I took this oppurtunty to hang out with Craig Haarmeyer for a bit at Revolution Wines. A wine connoisseur and self-taught wine maker, he is working on his 6th vintage this year and says that he is constantly learning and perfecting his wine making.
It all started back in 2007 with locally sourced grapes and a mission to prove not only that it’s possible to make Sacramento County Wine but also that it’s delicious! They relocated to their current location in 2010, now sharing a courtyard with Temple Coffee at 27th and S Streets.
Currently you can get a bottle at a few restaurants in town or at Revolution Wines, One Speed Pizza, Masullos, Waterboy and the Sacramento Natural Food Co-op. At Revolution they have a great menu to pair with their wine including locally sourced cheese, veggies, meat, and more, which is to say: the usual farm to fork story here in Sacramento!
Craig said that they are commited to letting the fruit do the work. Their job is to not mess it up during the process. Terroir is really important and grapes grown in good soil with attentive farmers produces a much better fruit. They shy away from additives unlike some large scale opperations, though sometimes he admits they add some sulphur (goes back to the Romans) which helps with inhibiting wild and spoilage yeasts and unwanted bacteria.
As Craig puts it, “I believe that there are many things that make wine a special, fantastic beverage and one of them is how you can experience a place based on what come out of the ground, what grows there. We all know about Napa and Sonoma Terroir, those are well established. Inland isn’t well represented. My focus is to not only make fine wine but to make fine wine from fruit that grows in our own backyard. The work has to be done in the vineyard. There’s a saying ‘You can’t make good wine with bad fruit’. We find the local farmers that will work with us with responsible farming, and more and more we’ve been doing work in the vineyards ourselves. The way the terroire will shine through, I think, is to not be heavy handed in the winery. We only use modern wine making techniques that don’t affect the flavor of the wine, we steer away from adding pretty much anything, except a little sulphur.”
Here are a few vintages that Craig suggested for your Sacramento Holidays:
White: Chenin Blanc under the St. Rey Label. Only 9 barrels were produced last year. Six months in barrel softens the wine a bit but maintains great acidity. A great food wine, light and great with poultry and pork.
Red: Sangiovese Red named Renzo - Named after one of their founders fathers who brought the wine making tradition from Italy. Using Sacramento County grapes from Wilton, this red is light and great with food with nice firm dusty tanins.
Dessert: 2008 Late bottle vintage Port which won double gold at the State Fair a couple years ago. They kept some barreled to age is more - this bottle represents that. All 6 noble varieties for this Port come from Ron Silva just down the road in Galt! It goes equally well with blue cheese or chocolate.