Here is what the wine critics are saying about Cedarville Vineyard and our wines:
Wine Enthusiast Magazine, October - December 2016
2013 Syrah: An aroma like charcoal and fennel leads to concentrated smoke and black-pepper flavors and a taut, tannic texture before more generous nuances like black cherry and savory lentils kick in. It's a fascinating wine that develops more layers and complexity as it breathes. Best after 2019. 92 Points. Cellar Selection.
2013 Petite Sirah: Good depth of flavor and a sense of layering makes this wine especially enjoyable. A big aroma pulls in wood smoke, black pepper, black cherry, generous fruit flavors, dark chocolate and smoky accents. 92 Points. Editor's Choice.
2014 Viognier: This wine has the complete butter and baking-spice treatment from barrel fermentation to make it rich in aromatics and full and creamy in texture. It has a light tangerine and cream aroma, rich fruit and baking-spice flavors and a lingering finish. 92 Points. Editor's Choice.
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon: This engaging, full-bodied and densely textured wine has a great bouquet and structured yet fine-grained tannins. It exudes an engaging mix of spices, smoke and cedar in the aroma, and serves equally layered and complex fruit and spice flavors. Best after 2018. 91 Points
2012 Turnabout's Fair Play: Hints of charred wood and fresh-cracked black pepper meet tasty baked-fruit flavors in this full-bodied, rather rugged wine made from Grenache, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a good, firm and moderately tannic texture. 90 Points
2013 Zinfandel: A blend of dark fruits, savory nuances and black pepper give this dry, full-bodied wine a unique personality. It tastes and feels big on the palate, finishing with warmth. 89 Points
2013 Grenache: Rich in body but light in tannins, this warm, generous wine fills the mouth and eases down the throat. It has a good mélange of cherry, strawberry and floral aromas, satisfying fruit flavors and a nicely soft finish. 89 Points. Editor's Choice
Wine Enthusiast Magazine, September - December 2015
2012 Petite Sirah: Dense and intense, with loads of fine-grained tannin, this is a deep, dark-colored wine with oodles of flavor and a very thick texture. As massive as it is in texture though, delicious flavors like blackberry, blueberry and dark chocolate come through and then linger on the finish. Drink from 2016 to 2026. Cellar Selection. 92 Points
2012 Zinfandel: A very well-built and elegant dinner wine, this smells like boysenberry and black pepper. It tastes nicely reserved and almost meaty, with moderate tannins to add grip to the texture. It should pair nicely with a roast or braise. 90 Points
2010 Cabernet Sauvignon: Fully ripe, saturated fruit aromas lead to deep, lush flavors and a smooth, moderately tannic texture. The wine lets dried plum flavors shine through without a lot of oak tones, so it tastes focused and pure. It keeps improving with each sip. Best now through 2019. 90 Points
2013 Viognier: Made in a deliciously oaky style, this smells like melted butter and toasted baguette, tastes like ripe pears drizzled with crème anglaise and feels almost sweet. The toasted oak component adds a touch of bitterness to balance the richness, and it all works beautifully for this approach. 90 Points
2012 Syrah: This full-bodied and assertive wine from hillside vineyards has earthy aromas, ripe but dry fruit flavors, and a dense texture due to mouth-coating tannins. It will need time in the bottle to round off, but should be delicious after 2018. Cellar Selection. 89 Points
2012 Rules of Fair Play: More of a Zinfandel than a red blend, this has plenty of flavor and more tannin than usual. Containing 40% Petite Sirah, it offers a surplus of juicy plum and black cherry flavors, good balance and just enough grippy tannin to make it robust. 89 Points
Sacramento Magazine, September 2014
"Fair Play is a tiny burg getting big attention from wine critics. Cedarville Vineyard is the gold standard there"
Wine & Spirits Magazine, "100 Best Buys of the Year", December 2014
Perhaps it’s no surprise that viognier seems to be suited to the Sierra Foothills—as with Condrieu, the Foothills have a lot of granite. That’s particularly true in Fair Play, where Jonathan Lachs and Susan Marks established their estate in 1995 on the region’s sandy, decomposed granite hills. In 2012 their vineyard gave a viognier with delicious purity of fruit: all apricots, earth tones and mineral water. It’s as fresh as it is fleshy, equally suited to rich seafood or veal. Catch it now while it’s still carrying its full youthful generosity. 92 Points.
This grenache grows in the sandy, decomposed granite soils of Jonathan and Susan Lachs’ organically farmed Fair Play estate. Fresh and lithe, it shows off the prettier side of the grape: a beam of light red fruit tones layered with hints of complexity, from anise to rose and a bit of meatiness. The fine tannins would match a simple roast chicken. 91 Points
Santa Cruz Sentinel, August 2014
Cedarville Vineyard 2012 Grenache
“If you're curious what a grenache tastes like, give this estate-grown Sierra Foothills version a whirl. The well-made wine from Cedarville Vineyard in Fair Play, El Dorado County, has plenty of red fruit and a dusty-earthy flavor that characterizes the varietal. This dry wine is like a just-picked strawberry, fresh and warm from the garden, with a little dusty coating. Red fruit and rose aromas open the wine while raspberries and an earthiness travel across the palate. Black pepper, orange peel, thyme and a bit of cedar complete the long finish. Tannins are present but soft on this juicy, easy-drinking wine.”
Cedarville Vineyard 2012 Zinfandel
“Try this Zin, it will turn the concept of jammy sweet Zinfandels on its head.”
Wine Enthusiast Magazine July 2013
Here’s a link to the feature article “California’s Zinfandel Hot Spots” by Virginie Boone and Steve Heimoff (scroll down to “Sierra Foothills” for a picture of our 2010 Zinfandel!)
Juicy and dark with layers of boysen- berry and blackberry fruit, with high tones of tar and brick, Cedarville’s estate-grown Zin comes to life in decomposed granite soils, giving the wine a satisfying and sultry profile. Enjoy this Zin in good time (3–5 years) and pair with dark, smoky meats. . 91 Points
2010 Turnabout’s Fair Play:
Cedarville’s estate-grown, Priorat inspired blend of 45% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, is well made and inclined to age. It’s still soft and oaky with a hint of leathery cassis and game. Imagine a Spanish fiesta for this food-friendly wine. 90 Points
2010 Petite Sirah:
A pure Petite Sirah from 36-year-old vines grown in decomposed granite soil, this Cedarville bottling is appropriately purple-black in color, and rich with milk chocolate and licorice flavor. It’s soft with juicy tannins, and boasts a long, luxurious finish. It’ll sit quietly in the cellar for 10–15 years, if not longer, a commanding study in the evolved beauty of Petite Sirah. Cellar Selection.
2008 Cabernet Sauvignon:
This is a very fairly priced Cabernet given its quality. It’s made from 100% Cab and all estate grown in the high elevations of Fair Play in El Dorado County. Oaky and smoky, it whispers of mountain fruit, with herb, cassis and blackberry highlights amid a background of savory earth. Age
3–5 years. 88 Points
Wine Enthusiast Magazine, June 2013
An incredibly well-made and well-priced Viognier, from Cedarville’s very own decomposed granite-filled soils high atop Fair Play. Opening with faint floral honey, wet stone and pear aromas, the flavors follow through accordingly, and the wine just continues to please with full-integrated minerality. It’s a joy to drink. 92 Points
Cedarville remains an estate producer to follow in the Foothills, melding a well-farmed site with clean, clear winemaking in the cellar. Grown on decomposed granite hillsides, this Syrah has 4% Viognier, just the right touch to bring out the best aromatics, highlighted by sage. Dark, earthy and leathery, this wine is holding onto its tannin and oak, but given time to rest in the cellar 5–7 years, it’ll scream to be served with cassoulet. Cellar Selection. 91 Points
Cedarville continues to make stellar, fairly priced estate grown wines, with this Grenache a prime example of the property’s ability to nurture spicy, broad shouldered reds. Concentrated and intense, with dark fruit and a savory profile, the oak is prominent but defined. The oak is present, but should fall back with age. 89 Points
Wine Enthusiast Magazine: Feature Article and Reviews, April and May 2012
Here’s a link to the feature article "The Sierras’ Rhone Warriors" by Virginie Boone.
A tremendous Grenache from the Foothills, estate grown from Beaucastel budwood and let to develop slowly, this wine has acres to go before it sleeps. Still superdense and dark with fruity plum and anise predominating, it’ll grow old with tenderness and grace. 92 Points
A beautifully floral Viognier, its aromas tenderly inviting, with uplifting hints of apricot, pear and white fig. It’s a deftly made white with lovely minerality and a fleshy mouthfeel all wrapped up in the end with a light touch of lemon. 90 Points
Savage and smelling of earth, this estate-grown and -bottled Syrah from husband and wife team Jonathan Lachs and Susan Marks is rightly mountainous, with a wall of tannin, still thick and tight but teeming with potential. Lay it down and let that wall melt into fruit and spicy earth. 89 Points
2009 Petite Sirah:
A hugely purple Petite with layers of black pepper, bacon fat, cedar and earth. It’s chewy and inky but in balance; its tannin structure is as thick as walls yet the wine’s stewy plum goodness goes down easy. 89 Points
Cedarville is loved for its Syrah and Grenache but it can expertly handle its estate Zinfandel too—grown at 2,500-foot elevation—This smoky, raspberry-wrapped, silky wine is full of big, round mountain tannins yet somehow manages to be light on its feet on the finish. Have it with sticky ribs. 89 Points
2009 Turnabout’s Fair Play: Cedarville’s ode to Priorat, this is a mix of 45% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. The three get along swimmingly, amusingly mixing into a triad of dark blackberry, dark licorice and dark chocolate. The rich texture is on the mark, and the wine provides just the right heft for any spicy, brawny meal. 92 points
2009 Cedarville Vineyard Zinfandel by Wine Spectator Associate Editor, Tim Fish January 31, 2011
"(At the ZAP Festival Testing) I sampled about 50 wines, certainly not an exhaustive list but enough to get a good picture. I would give all of these wines a preliminary rating of 90-94 points, non-blind, or outstanding on Wine Spectator’s 100-point scale.
Cedarville El Dorado 2009 ($22) Dense yet still light on its feet, with focused blackberry flavors."
Here’s a link to the entire blog article, but you might need a subscription.
Robert Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide No. 7
"In less than a decade, this winery has managed to produce some very tasty wines offered at intriguing prices. They are well-made, reasonably priced, delicious efforts that never disappoint."
The New Connoisseurs' Guidebook to California Wine & Wineries, 2010
"Cedarville Vineyard's ripe-leaning, consistently well-made wines are unfailingly good to very good and rate, alongside Terre Rouge, as the quality leaders in the Sierra Foothills."
Wine Spectator, September 30, 2011
"Cedarville 2008 Zinfandel: This shows appealing aromas of black raspberry and loam. Cherry, sassafras and white pepper flavors are dense yet agile. Drink now through 2016. 88 Points."
Food and Beverage World, August 19, 2011
"Cedarville Vineyard 2009 Zin 91 points, '09 Grenache 91pts., '08 Syrah 90 pts., '09 Viognier 90 pts., '08 Cabernet Sauvignon 89 pts., '08 Petite Sirah 89 pts". For complete article and reviews click here.
Wine Spectator, June 30, 2009
"The Sierra Foothills have long produced good Zinfandels, but producers such as Cedarville are undergoing a small renaissance. Its El Dorado 2006 (91points, $22), a great deal, is dense with fruit yet light on its feet, with lively notes of wild raspberry, pepper and loam. 2007 Cedarville Zinfandel: Elegant and well-focused, with loamy cherry and fresh sage aromas and crisp, layered plum, anise and white pepper flavors that firm up on the finish. Drink now through 2012. (89 Points, $22)."
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines January 2011 (2008 Cedarville Vineyard Zinfandel)
“The Cedarville way with Zin has been and is again one of high-ripeness combined with plentiful blackberry fruit, and this latest comes with plenty of muscle and brawn as well. It steers clear of any raisiny excess but is a very big-bodied wine whose bias to very ripe grapes is clear, and it joins those bottlings that want drinking with appropriately bold foods rather than lighter fare. 88 Points, One Puff ”
Wine Spectator, June 15, 2008
"You'll get personal attention when you visit this tiny, family-run winery. Armed with enology degrees from the University of California, Davis, Jonathan Lachs and Susan Marks have flown by the seat of their pants to build their business, and after just more than a decade, they're producing some of the best Zinfandels in the area. Situated at an elevation of 2,500 feet in the Fair Play region, the modest winery produces 2,300 cases annually from 15 acres of estate vineyards. Lachs and Marks show visitors around personally, pouring tastes during the tour of the winery and caves."
Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, August 31, 2007
"Attractively packaged, well-made wines seem to be the rule at the Cedarville Vineyard."
Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, October 31, 2003
"This winery, which is turning out attractive Rhone Ranger offerings, also produces good Zinfandels"
Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, October 31, 2003
"This winery, which is turning out attractive Rhone Ranger offerings, also produces good Zinfandels"
THE RHONE REPORT November 2009
“Cedarville Vineyard: This is another under the radar producer that showed beautifully in blind tastings. These are excellent, well made wines that display plenty of character and will pair up well with food. They also offer excellent value and are well worth checking out.
2007 Cedarville Vineyard Viognier: 100% Viognier and showing a closed, tight personality, the 2007 Cedarville Vineyard Viognier shows ripe tropical fruits, pear, stone and slate aromatics with a kiss of new oak. The palate is medium to full bodied and shows nice acidity and a long finish. (88 pts.)
2006 Cedarville Vineyard Syrah: An outstanding wine, the 2006 Cedarville Vineyard Syrah offers up pure, bright aromatics of spice laden blackberry and cassis fruit, flowers, charred earth and espresso. Medium to full bodied on the palate, it has rich, concentrated fruit, nice acidity and a tannic, long finish. Enjoy this over the next 4to 6 years. (90 pts.)
2006 Cedarville Vineyard Grenache: The 2006 Cedarville Vineyard Grenache is an excellent wine and has ripe, spice and underbrush driven aromatics. There's subtle vanilla, mulled cherries and meat aromas as well and in the mouth, the wine is medium bodied with a firm, savory, rich texture and slightly drying tannin on the finish. I'd recommend enjoying these over the next 5 to 8 years. (88 pts.)
2006 Cedarville Vineyard Petite Sirah: Superb, the 2006 Cedarville Vineyard Petite Sirah has complex aromatics of assorted dark fruits, sweaty saddle leather, earth, graphite and subtle meat that lead into a medium to full bodied, balanced and rich wine. There's lot of texture here along with ripe, fine grained tannins. This should drink well over the next 10+ years. (90 pts.)
Wine Spectator, October 31, 2003
"Cedarville accepts visitors by appointment only and offers tastings of their notable Rhone varietals"
Randy Caparoso February 2010
“Cedarville Vineyard: Located 2,500 feet up in the spectacular mountain setting of the Sierra Foothills, this vineyard has produced equally spectacular zins on a consistent basis during the past decade.”
Linda Murphy, Wine Editor, San Francisco Chronicle, February 6, 2003
"There is a lot of buzz about Cedarville Vineyard, a Zinfandel, Syrah and Grenache brand owned by wife and husband team Susan Marks and Jonathan Lachs -- UC Davis enology grads who released their first wine from the 1998 vintage."
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, December 2001
The NEWCOMER of the YEAR AWARD for 2001. Given to Cedarville Vineyard, the creation of Davis-trained winemakers Susan Marks and Jonathan Lachs for their blockbuster, fruit filled El Dorado County Syrahs and Zinfandels.
West Coast Wine Network Tasting Panel, June 27 2001
"Cedarville Vineyard 1999 Zinfandel, 1999 Syrah, 1999 Grenache. Great Value."
Los Angeles Times, July 18, 2001
"Tomorrow's Superstar Wines"
Laurie Daniel, San Jose Mercury News, June 27, 2001
"The Cedarville Vineyard Syrah is a benchmark wine for the area."
Appellation Magazine, August 2001
"Foothill wines worth seeking...Susan Marks, who along with her husband, Jonathan Lachs, has swiftly brought Cedarville Vineyard from obscurity to acclaim."
Honolulu Advertiser, Randal Caporoso, July 5, 2000
"The joy of gatherings like the Hospice du Rhone is that you often find unexpected pleasures from virtually unknown producers, such as this totally new, tiny family estate located in the Sierra Foothills of El Dorado County."
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine, January 2009 (2006 Cedarville Vineyard Zinfandel)
"While happily not a wine that goes to the point of excess, this very ripe youngster is every inch Sierra Foothill Zin, and it wants pairing with like-minded, very flavorful foods. 88 points, One Puff"