|Blue Victorian Winery flanking primitivo grapes|
Still, as Northern California wine regions go, Suisun Valley has yet to be discovered. Earlier this week, as my granddaughter took her licensing exam before the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology in Fairfield, I killed time by wandering about the country roads north of Interstate 80, hoping to find a few wineries open. I did, but just a few. Monday, even a Monday that was a holiday for some people, isn't the best day to taste wine in Suisun Valley, I discovered. Several places I would have liked to visit, especially the Suisun Valley Wine Cooperative and Winterhawk Winery, were closed. Make a note: The Co-op, 4495 Suisun Valley Road, where the wines of five local wineries are poured, including Winterhawk, is open only noon-5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
More frustrating was that by the time I visited four wineries I still didn't have a confident reading on the varietal or style of wine that ultimately will give Suisun Valley its identity. In the past, I've tasted some craftily made merlot, petite sirah and even pinot noir coming out of the area, but Monday I didn't find much to excite me. Oh, Wooden Valley Winery & Vineyards continues to excell with cabernet sauvignon and merlot, Ledgewood Creek Winery & Vineyards produces a pretty and refreshing grenache rose and a complex and solid merlot, and Blue Victorian Winery had a respectably fruity syrah, but where were the exciting petite sirahs that henceforth had generated the most buzz about the valley's potential? Maybe they aren't poured on Mondays.
This weekend, incidentally, should be a good time for wine enthusiasts to discover Suisun Valley. The valley's Fun Family Farm Days, a harvest festival with pumpkin patches, barrel tasting, winery tours, produce stands, hay rides and the like, will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. About 10 wineries are to be open and pouring tastes. For more information, go here. Please let me know of standout varietals or blends you find.
Our granddaughter, meanwhile, who graduated from high school in May, passed her exam and now is a licensed cosmetologist, ready to help finance her way through college. We celebrated at the Fairfield branch of Fresh Choice, without wine.