Sunday, February 14, 2010

Madera Wine Trail

The plan was to stay home for the long weekend and Valentines Day, but we can’t resist a good trip around California. A month ago our neighbors purchased tickets for the Madera Wine Trail Wine and Chocolate Weekend. At the time they told us about the wine trail, this was the only weekend in February we would be home between planned trips and travel for work so we declined the invitation. However on Friday, with the three day weekend looming we decided a short outing was in order. This trip was an up and back outing – making it perfect for a weekend getaway.

The Madera Wine Trail includes a host of wineries only some of which participate in their Wine Trail weekend. On Wine Trail weekends you purchase a wristband and work your way around the participating vineyards for wine tasting and assorted other goodies. Of course if your just passing through on a non wine trail weekend all these places offer tastings and would make a nice stop to break up the drive.

We called Mariposa Wine Co. ahead of time to inquire about their special couple’s package. The package included our wine trail weekend glasses and wristbands, lunch for two, a special “wine bottle” valentine, a bottle of “love potion # 9” wine and a cupcake to share. Mariposa Wine Co. really went all out with the theme. The wines, both red and white, were delish – so much so we purchased the “mystery box” full of 12 assorted wines. Mariposa is well North of the other participating vineyards and made a great starting point for our wine tasting.

If you didn’t want to do the couples package at Mariposa – Appellation: California Wine Tasting Visitors Center offers a group bus options that includes wine. They go to 5 of the participating vineyards starting at 12pm and returning at 5pm. It looked like a blast. We stopped in on our way out of town on Sunday to taste a few wines and enjoy some cheese from a local vendor.

I will really quickly run through the other vineyards although Jeff will probably go into more detail on the wineries.

Quady Winery focuses mostly on desert wines and wasn’t really our thing. If you like desert wines they had quite the variety and the grounds are lovely.

Birdstone Winery has a wonderful inside and outside tasting area. We particularly enjoyed the white wines here, although they had quite a selection of reds as well.

Chateau Lasgoity had both reds and whites – we didn’t really get to enjoy the property because of the crowds. We would like to go back on a non trail weekend.

Ficklin Vineyards was our last stop. It was also my very favorite. They are known for their ports but had a variety of reds and whites also available. In addition they support a local wild cat rescue and had a few of the wild cats available to view. (You can also "become a fan" on Facebook.)

I had no idea this little wine region even existed. We have driven through Fresno a few times looking for a little stop to break up the drive back to Edwards. This wine region is the answer. You could stop in to one vineyard or make a day of it by exploring the Medera Wine Trail.

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