A Gold Rush Era Wine at Gold Rush Prices


James Skinner grew up in Scotland and became an engineer. In 1842 he brought his wife, Jessie, and oldest son, James Jr., to Massachusetts. Like many American immigrants, he made his way west during the Gold Rush, starting near Coloma where gold was discovered, then moving up the streams and rivers of the low Sierra foothills. Eventually, James did well enough to buy land and create Skinner Ranch. The ranch ran along a well-traveled road that later became the Pony Express Trail (now Green Valley Road). In 1861, he began making good use of the transportation thoroughfare, planting vineyards and founding the J. Skinner Native Wine and Brandy Co., one of the first commercial vineyards in California, and by 1883, one of the largest. James also built a multi-story, cutting-edge distillery with a boiler room powered by a six-horsepower engine. J. Skinner Winery operated into the early 20th century. James was also a benefactor of his community, supporting his neighbors and donating land for public use, including the plots where the current Rescue fire station and post office now stand. The original Skinner Ranch was located in what is now known as the town of Rescue. In the 1860s, it was named Skinners, California and remains an unincorporated township that still appears on most maps.

Skinner 2019 Grenache, El Dorado
GGWC 29.99
Use code SKINNER during checkout

The 2019 Skinner Grenache offers up a very intense aroma of kirsch, licorice and black stone fruits on the nose. The wine is very aromatic throughout the lush medium-full bodied and round palate, offering layers of bright and ripe well-structured fruit flavors. The wine is gorgeous, showing a little more of a perfumy side of this varietal, but also has a very solid flesh structured backbone. This is a wine that is drinking well now, and should do so for a good 6-8 years.

Winery Notes: ”Our Estate Grenache perfectly defines the concept of “finesse”. This is largely due to our Stoney Creek ranch in Fair Play producing wines of such lilting character, and how well it marries with the sturdy tannins and intense fruit of our Green Valley ranch in Rescue. A strikingly translucent garnet, true as ever to the varietal, giving way to a nose of hibiscus, cherries and cream, clove and candied orange peel. Electrifyingly juicy across the palate, building into layers of supple, persistent texture. Grenache is finicky – not wanting to be overwrought, nor does it like to be under-realized. Made up of numerous small lots and varying clonal material, picking at absolutely perfect ripeness is key. The fruit is meticulously hand- sorted ensuring gentle handling and careful tannin management. We employ significant amounts of whole cluster, and handle our native fermentations with the remontage technique; gentler on the berries, but aggressively more aerobic for the juice, encouraging high CO2 production which both protects and bolstersour aromatic profile.”

WS 93 Points: “Vivid, sunbaked fruit flavors and a great structure of moderate acidity and tannins balance this wine out beautifully on a high level. Blackberry and raspberry notes mingle with hints of cedar, clove and black pepper for a tasty complexity”

Side note: Grenache has all kinds of iterations, and is one of the most widely planted wine grape varieties in the world. Believed to have originated in Northern Spain before migrating to France, eventually finding a cozy home in Southern Rhône in the 19th century. Considered a late-ripening varietal, Grenache loves a warm, dry climate and rocky soils making El Dorado County a perfect fit! At Skinner, Grenache is a big part of our legacy and continues to be a major part of our production today.

Also check out: Skinner 2020 Grenache Blanc El Dorado County

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Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for availability and priority allocation!