On Labor Day Weekend, C. G. DiArie Winery opened their tasting room and wine garden in the same building with Zachary Jack (ZJ) Specialty Foods, which is located in the old Zachary Jacques Restaurant, about three miles east of Diamond Springs at 1821 Pleasant Valley Road. This partnership is a perfect blending of food, wine and businesses.
If you are not familiar with C. G. DiArie, for the past 12 years the winery has been in the Mt. Aukum area of El Dorado County, later adding a tasting room in Amador County, and now one in El Dorado County.
Chaim and Elishiva Gur-Arieh are the winery owners. Chaim, who has a PhD in food science and a palate to match, is the winemaker, producing some of the finest and very best balanced wines around. Elishiva is a world class artist who manages a lot of the day to day winery business and also knows great wine. They are two of the most delightful people you will ever meet.
Elisheva and Chaim are both came to the United States from Israel, many years ago. Elisheva was a student of Anthropology, but went on to pursue a career in Fine Art. She attended the California College of Arts and Crafts and is a nationally exhibiting artist. Her paintings have been exhibited in Chicago, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington, San Francisco, and San Diego.
Chaim received his Masters and Ph.D. in Food Science with minors in Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry from the University of Illinois. Subsequently, he joined the Quaker Oats Company where he developed the technology for the breakfast cereal, “Cap’n Crunch”®. Later, at the Del Monte Corporation, he developed an array of products, including puddings-in-a-cup, shelf stable yogurts and other shelf stable dairy products.
A 12,000 square foot, state of the art facility, the winery is perched on a hillside of their 209 acre estate and is sized for a maximum production of 15,000 cases annually.
Inside the winery Chaim has installed new equipment that allows the wine to be fermented with a “Submerged Cap Fermentation” method. Chaim designed this equipment which he believes allows him to more carefully manage the wine during fermentation, achieving maximum extraction while avoiding the breaking of the seeds or over extraction. After fermentation, the wine is stored in French and American oak barrels for up to two years, prior to blending and bottling.
The mission of Chaim and Elisheva is to make excellent and distinctive wines by using the best quality grapes, combining artistic flair, sound science, innovation and creativity during the entire process of wine making from the vineyard through the cellar and into the bottle.
Their goal is to enhance the pleasure of wine consumption by being in harmony with the land and paying close attention to the vineyard while being committed to research and development, both in the vineyard and in the winery.
Lynette Evans, who with her husband and chef, John Evans, own both ZJ Specialty Foods and the highly acclaimed ZacJack Bistro in Cameron Park. They are delighted to have C. G. DiArie Winery join them.
I wrote about ZJ Specialty Foods a few weeks ago, pointing that they specialize in gourmet foods, such as pastas, pasta sauces, chutneys, curries, oils, pickled items, and preserves.
They also have nuts for cooking and/or eating, trail mixes, dried fruit, crackers and more, things perfect to take along on a picnic or a visit to the local wineries.
In addition to the canned and packaged goodies, there are freshly baked breads, and in the cooler section cheeses and patés, salads and desserts, along with what I think is really great, gourmet meals you can take home and easily prepare.
Since C. G. DiArie joined them, they have added several varieties of made to order gourmet sandwiches, along with house made charcuterie and cheese boards and quite a selection of plates. These include Nieman Ranch short ribs and vegetable ragout, White Marble porchetta, peporonata, olives and a baguette, slow cooked duck leg and thigh with a seasonal salad and slow cooked Dixon lamb shank with Summer squash ragout.
Stop by just to taste the wines of C. G. DiArie, some of the best wines in El Dorado County. Or, better yet, pair your wine with an appetizer or meal featuring the gourmet foods prepared by Chef John Evans.
Wine is available to taste, by the glass and by the bottle. Ask to try the Summer Breeze, a red blend made to be enjoyed chilled.
ZJ Speciality Foods is open Wednesday and Thursday from 11 until 6, Friday and Saturday from 11 until 7 and on Sunday from 11 until 5. Phone 530-626-8045.
C. G. DiArie tasting room and wine garden is open from 11 until 5, Friday through Sunday. Phone 530-622-4100.
Stop by and check out both C. G. DiArie and ZJ Speciality Foods.