Toast and tour Amador wine country

An end-of-summer guide to savor

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illustration by mark stivers

Plymouth on Historic Highway 49 was originally a camp for quartz-mining during the gold rush. Now, its modern day pilgrims are wine tasters and fairgoers. Plymouth also happens to be the seat of the Amador County Fairgrounds where fun wine events, like Four Fires in May, are held annually. Whether it’s a buttery chardonnay or fruit-forward barbera, wine varietals are aplenty in Plymouth. SN&R toasts to the end of summer with a guide to upcoming wine-tasting events complete with tips on where to eat and where to stay in beautiful Amador County.

Downtown Plymouth Sip & Stroll: Businesses along Historic Main Street will host the first in a series of Sip & Stroll events on Friday, September 14 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Live music will entertain wine-lovers from one end of town to the other with plenty of opportunities for sips of wine and even beer tastings. Interactive and local art, street-bites and crafty vendors will also make appearances.

Barbera Festival: Wine aficionados should also check out the eighth annual Barbera Festival on September 15 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Plymouth’s Terra d’Oro Winery, where 60 producers of the deep-colored vino will pour alongside delicious fare from local chefs with live music and unique crafts to boot.

Amador Farmers’ Market: Every Thursday in September, downtown Plymouth comes alive for the Amador Farmers’ Market from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the McGee Park on Main Street. Locals and visitors alike can shop for produce and crafts while wine-tasting and noshing on bites from friendly vendors.

Wine to savor: Prospect Cellars (9506 Main Street) is a family owned winery that’s really forging a new path in the region. For six generations, the Lubenko family has tended to rows of vineyards that produce zinfandel grapes among other varieties. Be sure to also try Prospect’s exemplary petite sirah and barbera.

Off the beaten trail: Wander over to Amador 360 (18590 Highway 49), a local tasting room for area boutique wineries that may not have a tasting room on-site. Here, wine enthusiasts will taste the bounty from Fiddletown Cellars, Fate Wines and Los Portales. Try Iberian beauties like monastrell and tempranillo under the Los Portales label from the Borjon family.

Taste and stay: Wine goes best with a delicious dinner and the upscale fare at Taste restaurant (9402 Main Street), is a bastion of culinary excellence curated by owners Tracey and Mark Berkner. Taste is also the proud recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, a title given to restaurants that feature at least 90 selections. Feast on mushroom cigars, exquisitely prepared fish, masterful lamb and vegetarian options, accompanied by a wealth of wines by the glass. Mondays feature a three-course chef’s prix fixe dinner, and corkage is also waived at lunch on Fridays. At the end of the tour through Amador County, stay awhile longer. Spend the night next door at Rest (9372 Main Street). You’ll be glad you did. The beds are divine.