Driving on Hwy 20 yesterday, saw a sign for Brassfield Estates on High Valley Road. A mile into the drive, I saw a sign that announced that since 2005, High Valley has been a recognized AVA. Driving further on it was very apparent that this area of Lake County was sparsley populated. In the middle of this valley (which runs East-West as we learned, with the Round Mountain volcano at the Eastern end) was this opulent castle like winery with treelined entrance and a grove what looked like mature olive trees! It was a very pretty locale and there was deer all over the place. The Brassfield Estates belongs to some wealthy guy called Brassfield (obviously)..all 2600 acres of which only a small fraction has grapes on it. I tasted:
2011 Gewurztraminer- dry, sharp, honeysuckle, good minerality, flinty.
2009 Chardonnay- citrusy, peachy, easy drinking wine. this wine apparently saw no oak or any malo-lactic fermentation either.
2010 Zinfandel, Round Mountain- a young fruity Zin reminded me of a good rustic Mendo Zin.
2007 Zinfandel, Round Mountain- If the 2007 is any indication, the 2010 might evolve into something interesting. Still paisono but the edges have smoothed out and taken on claret like notes
2011 Pinot Noir- I was skeptical of a Lake County Pinot but this wasnt too bad. Earthy, cherry tones, a tad heat on the finish
2010 Eruption- A blend (primarily Syrah). Easy drinking, red fruits and nice medium finish.
2011 Serenity- A white blend (mostly Pinot Grigio as I remember). Lemons, stone fruits. A short finish.
They also had a Cab Sauvignon (forgot to note the vintage ). It has cassis, blueberries but a little ponderous I thought. I have little experience with Lake County cabs; so had little to draw a decent comparison. It was definitely an interesting detour from Hwy20 and I learned about a new appellation!