Lava Cap Winery is located in El Dorado County in the Sierra-Nevada foothills, about an hour east of Sacramento. Volcanic eruptions from now extinct volcanoes coated this area in lava, much of which has disappeared through erosion. During the California Gold Rush era, miners found the richest gold-bearing gravels were under a thick layer of volcanic rock which they named “lava cap”.
After the gold rush, a pear ranch was started in the 1860’s and ended up being one of the highest productivity rates for pears in all of California. Geologist and UC Berkeley professor, David Jones, bought the land in the 1970’s and after testing and research, found the soil underneath the ranch consisted of volcanic rock, possibly what suited it well for growing fruit.
The soil in this region has definitely given Lava Cap Winery a distinctive edge on bold flavors and intense aromas. I was introduced to their Sangiovese a couple of years ago and fell in love with it. Shortly thereafter, I paid a visit to the winery to check out their other wines and look into the wine club. I tried every wine (except two) on their tasting and reserve menus and thoroughly enjoyed each of them, which is saying a lot since I tried 16 different wines that day!
As with most vwineries, the wine club is the way to go. Their wine club features 20% off single purchase bottles, invites to events, and free tastings of their reserve wines. They are one of the most decorated winery in the El Dorado appellation which doesn’t come as a big surprise! But what is surprising is the low price of their great selection of wines – most are $20 or less!
Lava Cap is known for their small lot production, especially of red Bordeaux varietals, Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel. Currently, they offer a few whites, like Suavignon Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay, and a large selection of reds. Some of their other reds include Barbera, Cab Franc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and several Cabernet Sauvignons.
El Dorado County wineries are truly hidden gems and Lava Cap is definitely one to check out!
Lava Cap Winery
2221 Fruitridge Road
Placerville, CA 95667