1. Miraflores: Owned by Victor & Cheryl Alvarez. Winemaker is MarcoCapelli. I first met Marco back in his days as winemaker at Swanson in the NapaVlly. In '92 (or '93), he made their first Syrah and I was blown away by it when I tried it at the Aspen F&W Festival. Probably the best up-valley (non-Carneros) NapaSyrah I had tried up to that point (before Lagier-Meredith appeared on the scene). It was made from the same Syrah that went into SeanThackery's Orion. The Sangiovese was also very/very good, as was a botrytis Semillon.
Some yrs ago, Marc moved up to ElDoradoCnty and bought the old Herbert vnyd, which used to go to the MacCready's/ SierraVista. Given his accomplishments at Swanson, I was certain Marc would makke a big splash up there with his own label. Instead, he has maintained a quite low profile; serving as winemaker/consultant to a number of wineries. I gather Miraflores is his main gig.
I had seen some praise from MikeDunne over the yrs for the Miraflores wines. A recent high-praise review for their MethodeAncienne convinced me I should give their wines a test drive, so I ordered a mixed case. Hence, this tasting above.
I found the Syrahs to be the most interesting of the Miraflores. The '05 & '06 were very much in the style of Syrahs Marco did at Swanson. Although not as up-front/appealing, I found the '07 and '09 much more interesting and speaking more of ElDorado. The '09 is probably the most serious of these Syrahs and probablly the most potential. It reminded me some of the early JohnMacCready Syrahs.
So...what did I think of the Miraflores wines?? They seem to be good/solid/well-made wines at more than fair prices. They all, pretty much, spoke of ElDorado, sometimes to the detriment of the fruit. Some of them I'd have liked a bit less ElDorado and a bit more fruit. The wines were good/yeoman wines but just seemed to lack a certain amount of pizzazz or the "wow" factor. Given Marco's skills, I have a lot of hope for what the Miraflores will evolve to with their future efforts.
2. Cedarville: Owned by SusanMarks & JonathanLachs. I have, of course, followed them from the very start. My group typically buys 3-4 cases/year on the pre-release basis. Their wines are well-made/solid wines at more than fair prices and speak of the ElDorado terroir in a low-key manner and show more fruit than most from ElDorado. I put these in here to round out the tableau and so I could use a catchy title line.
3. ElDoradoCnty: This is an area that I think deserves more recognition. Their wines, in general, have a distinct earthy/dusty/mushroomy/bit mineral/granitic signature...the ElDorado terroir...that makes for some very interesting wines. In the Rhone varietals, the terroir lends a bit of a SouthernRhone character to the wines. I would like to see more in the way of Italian varieties from ElDorado...like Teroldego/Schiopettino/Refosco/Nebbiolo/LaCrima del Morro d'Alba/Marzemino/Tazzalenghe/Freisa/Brachetto/MoscatoRosa. I would think the terroir could lend a character not too different from Val d'Aosta/Valtelline/AltoAdige. Of course, marketing those wines would be a whole nuther matter.
I've generally liked JohnMacCready's SierraVista wines, especially the Rhones....though recent ones don't seem to be as inspired as his early ones..maybe a bit hit or miss. For me, the most impressive ElDorado wines have been made outside the area. The Rhones (and Gamay) made by SteveEdmunds have easily been my favorites; closely followed by those of Donkey&Goat. And KenMusso's/DueVigne Nebbiolo is really quite good.
Anyway...it's an area that has had some hits & misses...an area that I think has even more potential to make some impressive/great wines. I'll be there to take data.