Boeger Winery Review
Sierra Foothills AVA,
El Dorado County,
El Dorado AVA,
Reviewed: October 22, 2016 by
Published: April 20, 2017
I am so fortunate to live in the Napa Valley, where there are hundreds of wineries to visit. However, I often have this feeling of wanderlust that I cannot seem to shake, which causes me to frequently seek out new winery destinations. Thus, when a friend suggested that I visit Boeger Winery with him in El Dorado County, California, I jumped at the chance. I was immediately enamored after researching the winery’s rich history.
Vintner Greg Boeger grew up in a winemaking family in the Napa Valley. His grandfather, Anton Nichelini, founded Nichelini Family Winery in Chiles Valley in the late 1800s. Continuing the family tradition, Boeger and his wife, Sue, decided to take their chance on winegrowing and winemaking in El Dorado County, purchasing the former Fossati-Lombardo family homestead, farm, winery, and distillery in 1972, and establishing El Dorado’s first post-Prohibition winery. Today, 45 years later, Boeger Winery is still owned and operated by Greg (vineyard manager), Sue (general manager), son Justin (winemaker), and daughter Lexi (marketing and design). The estate is comprised of 82 acres of sloping, terraced vineyards in the Sierra Foothills, along with the tasting room, offices, production building, the original Fossati-Lombardo farmstead and winery building, the former distillery building, and a blacksmith’s building. Always experimenting, Boeger grows 31 different grape varieties, including Italian varieties such as aglianico barbera, carignane, charbono, primitivo, refosco, and sangiovese, as well as cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, flora, merlot, mourvèdre, muscat Canelli, petit verdot, pinot gris, pinot noir, riesling, sauvignon blanc, sémillon, tempranillo, and zinfandel.
Upon our arrival, we headed down the hill from the parking area, admiring the rolling hills of vineyards and watching guests, their children, and their pets making themselves at home outside in the beautiful, autumn weather. Inside the tasting room, we were greeted by Lexi Boeger, who started our tasting at one of their two, very busy tasting bars. A few wines into the tasting, Greg Boeger appeared. We spent the next hour to an hour or so with Boeger, who led us on a full tour of the historic buildings, the offices, the laboratory, and the production space, which was a fantastic, unexpected treat. He told us the history of his family and the estate along the way. On the crushpad, he allowed us to climb a ladder and gaze into two open-top fermentation tanks, where we could see and smell the beginning of winemaking. We continued into the barrel area, where barrels of all kinds, French and American, sat on old wooden racks. Greg pointed out a specific barrel he had purchased inexpensively from Silver Oak, which now continues its journey aging Boeger wine. It was in this moment that I began to sense what an amazing journey this has been for Greg Boeger and his family.
After the tour, we returned to the tasting room to taste more wines. Three wines captured my heart that day. The first was the 2014 Boeger Barbera ($18), the winery’s flagship wine, whose neutral oak aging allows its red berry flavors and bright acidity to shine on the palate. The second was the 2014 Migliore Reserve ($30), a blend of 48% refosco, 21% carignane, 20% aglianico, 7% charbono, and 4% other. Another beauty aged in neutral oak, it showcases vibrant dark fruit, peppery spice, and ample tannins. Last, but certainly not least, was the 2014 Pinot Grande Pinot Noir ($25), from Greg Boeger’s personal, high-elevation vineyard. What originally began as an experiment has turned out to be a lovely example of pinot noir, boasting aromas and flavors of cherry, cranberry, and baking spices enveloped in smoky oak.
Driving away from Boeger that day, I recalled one point during the tour when we stopped in a meeting room adjacent to the offices. Wine bottles lined the shelves, each revealing a moment in the history of Boeger. I managed to snap a photo of Greg Boeger gazing up at the bottles. I saw both contentment and pride in his eyes and realized that I was in the presence of a great man – a risk-taker, a visionary, and a trailblazer – a true Renaissance man in the world of grape growing and winemaking.
Address & Contact Information:
1709 Carson Rd.
Telephone: 530-622-8094 / 800-655-2634,
Tasting Hours: 10:00-5:00.
Overall Rating:   ||
| Red Wine
|| White Wine
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