Sierra Foothills Wine Tasting

A Mountain Wedding and Wine Tasting in the Sierra Foothills

In West, Wine and Beverage by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch6 Comments

Our first trip to the Sierra Foothills was busy with a mountain wedding, hiking and wine tasting. It’s a part of California worth exploring.

Our first trip to the Sierra Foothills was busy with a mountain wedding, hiking and wine tasting.
Hiking Around Bear Lakes in the Plumas National Forest Sierra Foothills

Hiking Around Bear Lakes in the Plumas National Forest

When we were making plans for attending a wedding in California’s Sierras, we had lots of ideas of how to make the most of our time out west.  It made perfect sense to stay in the Sierras and relax.  However, in our never-ending quest for good food while traveling, we ultimately decided to tack on a visit to the Bay Area as part of the trip.  We were smart enough to budget some time to visit Nevada City – a perfect spot to see remnants of California’s gold rush and check out the Sierra Foothills wine scene.

Sierra Foothills Hike

During our time in Graeagle, we were struck by the natural beauty of the High Sierras in Plumas County.  We got in one memorable, glorious hike with friends through the coniferous tree-lined mountain trails.

Interesting Trees along the Hike Sierra Foothills

Trees along the Hike

Sierra Foothills Wedding

More importantly, the spectacular wedding setting was filled with love. It’s easy to get blasé about  weddings after attending so many over the year, but this one was very special.  Kudos to friends Heidi and Karl for planning a unique Summer Solstice wedding.

Wedding Couple Sierra Foothills

Wedding Couple Heidi and Karl

Maybe we should have stayed longer in this gorgeous region of California, but plans had been made and good food was awaiting.  So, we left after breakfast on Saturday to visit Nevada City which is also known as the Queen City of the Northern Mines.

Nevada City Farmers Market

After a zigzagging two-hour drive bordering the Tahoe National Forest, we arrived in the former gold rush town in time to check out the Saturday farmers market.

Nevada City Farmers Market Sierra Foothills

Nevada City Farmers Market

We gazed with awe at the colorful produce options.  Although we love our weekly neighborhood farmers market at Philadelphia’s Headhouse Square, our market can’t compete with a market that features California’s plentiful bounty.

Farmers Market Bounty Sierra Foothills

Farmers Market Bounty

Since we were traveling, we had to settle for a few nibbles and some juicy peaches for the road.

California Peaches Sierra Foothills

California Peaches

Nevada City Winery

Nevada City is cute and picturesque with lots of shops and restaurants.  While here, we walked to the Nevada City Winery and tasted wine in their comfortable tasting room.

Nevada City Winery Sierra Foothills

Nevada City Winery

The Nevada City Winery was founded in 1980 and has won awards for their Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon – grapes that thrive in the hot Sierra Foothills climate.

We each did a $5 tasting that included a wide selection of the winery’s whites and reds.

Wine Tasting Glass Sierra Foothills

Wine Tasting Glass

Our hostess was generous, and we tasted most of their wines including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.

Wine Tasting at Nevada City Winery Sierra Foothills

Wine Tasting at Nevada City Winery

For us, the reds were the standouts, especially the 2008 Malbec – a luscious red with surprising complexity and structure.  In a fortuitous twist of fate, the Malbec was on closeout for $8 per bottle. Yes, you read that correctly.  Needless to say, we bought more than couple bottles for the trip home.

Nevada City Winery Malbec Sierra Foothills

Nevada City Winery Malbec

Lunch at Lefty’s Grill

Our plan was to have lunch at Lefty’s Grill, a casual eatery overlooking Deer Creek.  This lunch plan took a turn for the better when we found out that the restaurant doesn’t charge a corkage fee for Nevada City Winery wines.  We bought an extra bottle of the Malbec for our lunch and headed to the restaurant.  After scoring the only available outside table, we sipped on our wine and ordered lunch.

Mindi Enjoying the Nevada City Winery Malbec at Lunch Sierra Foothills

Mindi Enjoying the Nevada City Winery Malbec at Lunch

Daryl Enjoying the Nevada City Winery Malbec at Lunch Sierra Foothills

Daryl Enjoying the Nevada City Winery Malbec at Lunch

First up was a creative appetizer called “the baked polenta thing”.  The menu describes the dish as brick oven baked polenta with roasted tomatoes, feta, Picholine olives and pine nuts finished with pesto, cherry tomatoes, basil and balsamic syrup.  We weren’t sure what to expect based on the busy description and the $7 price point.  Long story short, the fresh flavors combined in a way that made us very happy. Chefs often say that good cooking is about buying great ingredients and trying not to ‘mess’ them up. There was nothing particularly innovative about this dish, but the chef didn’t mess up the vibrant basil leaves and juicy, fresh tomatoes. The dish worked.

That Baked Polenta Thing Sierra Foothills

That Baked Polenta Thing

We capped the meal with a caesar salad (Mindi) and a solid gorgonzola & cabernet onion jam burger (Daryl). Both dishes hit the spot and gave us energy for the ride to San Francisco.

Caesar Salad with Roasted Prosciutto Sierra Foothills

Caesar Salad with Roasted Prosciutto

Burger with Gorgonzola and Cabernet Onion Jam Sierra Foothills

Burger with Gorgonzola and Cabernet Onion Jam

We could have easily spent additional time in Nevada City tasting more local wine and perusing the cute shops, and we were tempted  to pop over to the annual soap box derby and stay for the evening’s live music jam.  However, San Francisco and our dinner reservation at Bar Tartine lit a fire under us to leave for the next stop on our California adventure.

Good wine. Good food. Cute town. Next time, we will stay longer.

Nevada City Winery is located at 321 Spring Street, Nevada City, CA 95959, USA.

Lefty’s Grill is located at 101 Broad Street, Nevada City, CA 95959, USA.


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Comments

  1. Yay! We are in your blog 🙂 so glad you had a good time at the wedding and enjoyed nevada city!

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