The Sierra Foothills AVA (American Viticulture Area) presents itself as a sleepy wine community, but therein lies some truly fabulous wineries, creating many marvelous wines. One such winery, Boeger Winery, represents one of the pioneers in El Dorado County, California. Established in 1973, owner Greg Boeger aspired to bring more diversity to the styles and varietals of this area, just northeast of Sacramento.
El Dorado County Boeger Winery
The winery is situated on rolling hills in a picturesque setting. Visiting the winery in the fall, visitors are presented with a spectacularly beautiful backdrop of gold and orange set against the pines that grow in the region.
The original winery, established in the mid-1800s as Lombardo/Fossati Winery now functions as an auxiliary tasting room. In addition, this charming tasting room features artifacts from the original winery.
During the Gold Rush and until Prohibition, wineries flourished in El Dorado County. In fact, there was quite a demand for wine during this period. After Prohibition, the wine industry lay dormant until the late 1960s when experimental vineyards started cropping up in the area.
Greg Boeger and the Winery
In 1972, Greg Boeger purchased the property where his winery now sits, thus becoming a pioneer in reestablishing the wine industry in El Dorado County. Boeger also became the first commercial winery to reemerge in the region.
Greg Boeger grew up around his grandfather’s winery, Nichelini, in Napa. From his time spent in Napa, it was only natural that he pursued his interest in winemaking. After graduating from UC Davis, he moved to El Dorado County to start Boeger. Today, Greg oversees the vineyards while his son Justin assumes the responsibilities and role of winemaker.
Boeger’s diverse portfolio of wines includes both Rhone and Bordeaux varietals. Boeger also creates some Spanish and Italian wines.
I recently sampled Boeger’s 2009 Milagro, a wine composed of the Spanish grape Graciano. The Graciano grape, grown primarily in the Rioja region of Spain, is known for its intense aromatic qualities. Like many Spanish-styled wines,
I found a big, bold, and full-bodied wine displaying beautiful aromas of cherry. On the palette, the wine exhibited a rich, smoothly balanced wine with a deep purple color and wonderful flavors of black cherry, cocoa, and vanilla.
Perhaps the difference in this wine compared to a Milagro from Spain is the elevation in which the grapes are grown. The winery’s location in the Sierra Foothills ensures that the intensity of the wine brings forth the full expression of the fruit and accentuates the unique terroir of El Dorado County.
Upon tasting this wine, I am anxious to try other red varietals and blends from Boeger. After over thirty years of producing wine, the integrity of the winery and knowledge of the winemaking process really shines through in Boeger’s wines.
For more information, to visit the winery and get a taste of El Dorado County history or to purchase wines:
1709 Carson Road
Placerville, California 95667
Toll Free: 800.655.2634
Open for wine tasting 10 a.m.-5 p.m., daily
Note: Common to the wine industry, this writer received a hosted winetasting. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.