The Effect of Fiddletown Climate
The Role of Fiddletown Climate on Grape Growing
Although a bit of Barbera and Sauvignon Blanc is grown, the climate of Fiddletown is primarily suited for Zinfandel. Examples from the region have jammy, stewed fruit flavors, but also have noticeable acidity.
Fiddletown is located in the more elevated part of Amador County. Whereas the Shenandoah Valley is located 1,200-1,400 feet above sea level, Fiddletown ranges between 1,600-2,400 feet. This causes nights to cool considerably, retaining acidity in grapes.
However, Fiddletown has lower elevation than the El Dorado and Fair Play AVAs. So grape sugars are higher and acids are lower than Shenandoah Valley, but sugars are lower and acidity is higher than El Dorado and Fair Play.
Generally speaking, Zinfandel is jammier and has higher alcohol from El Dorado County, but is more acidic and has lower alcohol than Shenandoah Valley. In the glass, lower alcohol Zinfandel is less viscous, has lower alcohol, and has less bitter fruit flavors that are more straight forward.
There are several old vine Zinfandel vineyards still in existence in the AVA. This is because the region was too isolated to be heavily affected by the phylloxera during the late 19th century.
The Eschen-Rinaldi Vineyard is a noteable example of these old vines. Renwood Winery produces a highly acclaimed wine from this vineyard that must be tried by any Zinfandel aficionado. Terra Rouge also makes an excellent Zin from grape sourced from this property. Eschen-Rinaldi is one of the oldest vineyards in the state, and its vines were planted in 1865.
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