Winery to Watch 2016

California: Skinner

Mike and Carey Skinner were vacationing in the Sierra Foothills when they came across a reference to James Skinner’s winery. It turns out he was an ancestor, and the two southern Californians decided they’d try to reclaim their family’s forgotten winemaking legacy. They bought land in Fairplay, in El Dorado County, and brought in winemaker Chris Pittenger to oversee the project; he jumped at the opportunity to elevate a region with a long winemaking history and some fascinating vineyard sites, but little recognition for fine wine. He now works with fruit from the Skinner’s home estate as well as other vineyards on El Dorado’s sunny volcanic slopes. Keep an eye out for the 2013 El Dorado Mourvedre—it translates a warm Foothills summer into a sleek, stony and refreshing wine—and the 2013 Grenache, a floral red with a gripping, meaty red cherry flavor.