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Monday, July 25, 2011

Where The Heart & The Lone Buffalo Roam

A couple of weeks ago I attended a Girlfriends Night Out at a local boutique here in our town by the name of Amelie, and at this get together there was to be wine served by a local winery from the area. When I arrived, right at the front door to the shop was a lovely lady serving wine from Lone Buffalo Vineyards located in Auburn Ca.;soon found out it was the owner and wine makers wife Jill Maddux. 
Jill Maddux at Amelie
We began to chat,while I was sampling the New Release 2010 BISON BLANC VIOGNIER and if I recall the New Release 2009 WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM, Jill and I just really hit it off. Jill and her husbands vineyard was one that hubby and I had yet to check off our list of wineries in Placer County,so I promised her that we would visit the Sunday after next,and yesterday was that day. Hubby punched in the address into the GPS, and just in case I also had the instructions from the web site written down. Apparently it had been tricky for some to find. The drive was a short one from our apartment, and a few moments later we were driving down a private road, in a beautiful residential area of outer Auburn, and shortly after that we spotted the address and the small sign on the fence with the shadow of a buffalo upon it. 

We turned into the drive and made our way to the parking area of what is basically a private residence with a winery attached, and situated on a beautiful grounds with even more beautiful and picturesque views. 

We parked our car and made our way to the entrance to the wine tasting room portion of the residence. A lovely seating area with the sounds of wind chimes and bubbling water from a fountain framed the door well as a few friendly looking characters.

Even the chimes had a buffalo signaling we were in the right place.

Hubby opened the heavy wooden doors, and we stepped inside. Once in, we were greeted by the sights of a barreling room, a tasting area as well as the family dogs. 

Have a seat, and stay awhile, you will want to, I guarantee it!

Just part of the wonderful offerings.

Had to take a close up...loved this pic!

Soon Jill, upon hearing the greetings of the family dogs to us as we entered came around the corner and added her own. Introductions were made and we "bellied up" to the tasting bar. Soon we were joined by more eager visitors and Jill excused herself to go and beckon in the wine maker himself Philip Maddux.

Hubby and Phil
  From this point on I could take a "wine geek" point of view about our visit, my hubby is proud to go by such a name and Phil admitted he must be one as well, but I am not. I simply know what I like. I like the wine at Lone Buffalo and I like the Maddux family. But what I will do is go into some background for you, and also include a few links so you can do as little or as much research/reading up on things as you like. So if you would like a more educational, wine informative article, click HERE, or stay put,and come along with me on my personal experiences while at Lone Buffalo Vineyards.

Lone Buffalo Vineyards, launched in 2007 in Auburn, CA is the culmination of owner and winemaker Phil Maddux’s thirty-five year passion for wine making.  "We do everything ourselves.  From the harvest to the crush and from bottling to labeling, the production process is truly a labor of love." Lone Buffalo is a family business from top to bottom.A small boutique winery in the hills of Placer County, officially in Auburn CA. there is Phillip Maddux who owns, manages, as well as makes the wines for Lone Buffalo with his lovely wife Jill, who I mentioned I met earlier this month at a "Girlfriend's Night Out". They also serve the wine in the tasting their hands are on every aspect. Even their daughter Jocelyn works there in P.R. and web site development. OH and we can not forget Zoe and her companion pal  who are the official greeters from what I am told
Although LBV is a relatively new commercial establishment/venture, just over four years from what Jill was mentioning to me, Phil Maddux has been making wine since 1971. Phil was born and raised in Sonoma County. He became interested in wine making in the early ‘70s when Napa and Sonoma were just getting started. The vineyards at Lone Buffalo are planted with Zinfandel, Syrah, Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Viognier.  In addition to what they grow there at Lone Buffalo, they farm and harvest a nearby vineyard where they grow and harvest Petite Sirah . They also buy supplementary varietals from other premium Sierra Foothills growers. Phil and his family of wine makers believe that 95% of quality wine is a result of careful vineyard practices. Phillip Maddux's philosophies for management and the wine making are similar -" let nature do the work and be a good, careful caretaker. As for the winery, he believes that the less done, the better... "Ninety-five percent of good wine is made in the vineyard before the fruit is harvested...... A really good winemaker is a really good caretaker of what nature has given him or her."

The full line up to taste from white to red and even a Tawny dessert of my favs of the bunch!

Wood "sticks" , trick of the trade to control the amount of oak flavor in wine.

The picture, found many years ago in Phil's Aunt's attic that started it least the the obsession about buffalo.
As we sampled each of the wines offered at LBV ( find list hereand hubby and Phil discussed all the what's, hows, whys and techy wine nerd chat I always kind of tune out, I simply enjoyed the offerings.


After a time, Jill asked my hubby and the rest of the guests if they would like a tour of the vineyard on the hill behind the vineyard, and of course everyone said yes...well except for myself, I decided, since I was in heels to take to opportunity to sit outside, enjoy the sunshine and the solitude and sip my Tawny Pawnee and give my feet a well deserved rest.

The hillside vineyards for the estate grown wines

Hubby, Jill and other wine tasters , plus the vineyard dogs make the slight hike to go learn more amongst the vines.

I enjoy my Pawnee Tawny .....

the view.....

and getting off my feet for a bit.

Before too long everyone was back, hubby tells me one little tidbit that you readers might like to know ( ahhh he is so thoughtful)....All the grapes at harvest time are picked by volunteers. Friends, family, wine club members and just about anyone else that wants a more hand on experience than standing in a tasting room sipping wine, can come out and help...and I am sure there is benefits to doing so besides just the experience!
Once we were all back inside and did a couple re-tastings, just to make sure which bottle we wished to purchase, we had the chance to meet the Maddux's daughter Jocelyn,she is just as lovely of a person as her parents and it was she who helped ring us up at the end of our visit.

Our visit to Lone Buffalo Vineyards just reconfirmed the feeling I had already gotten when I first met Jill earlier this month, that both the wine and the wine makers had a lot of heart, and it comes through loud and clear from the minute you walk in the door, to the last drop in your glass, and the wonderful thing is you get to take a bottle of that heart home with you. I highly suggest that you visit if you ever find yourself in this part of California, and if you do find that is the case, I urge you to also ask Phil the buffalo story, which also will include a brief history lesson of the American buffalo as well as we brief history of wine in Placer County. If you can not make it in, you can also order the wines, or join their wine club. Either way you will not regret it.

For more in depth information, to contact the wine maker and learn more about the wines, or to plan your visit, click HERE.

After saying our goodbyes, and promises we would meet again, we took the short drive into the town portion of Aurburn and stopped at another winery Bonitata Boutique wines. Located on the fringe of the historic area of Auburn, and on the grounds of the historic Bernhard Museum ( which had already closed for the day, so next time we will visit it too) sits the tasting room. With an entrance of two very large iron doors set in a building made of stone, you are already set up with just walking up an interesting and different tasting experience. 

Once inside you are greeted by Mark Bonitata, the wine maker and your host, not to mention as mentioned a unique tasting environment. "Bonitata Boutique Wine prides itself on attention to detail. Each wine is handcrafted and barrel-aged then bottled at the right moment to deliver that special taste to your palate. Our grapes are hand picked from vineyards located in the Sierra Foothills. The grapes are picked just at the right balance of sugar, ph, and acid to produce a very special wine." * from the web site.

We thoroughly enjoyed the wine selection and the company of our host, once again hubby and the wine maker talked of why's, how's and what's of wine making, taste and experiences had, and I simply sipped and enjoyed. We quickly found out that we were in for some treats as well as yet again another wine maker and wine with real heart and a place we will indeed be making a stop at again in our journeys.
Barrel tasting is just one of the fun aspects of wine tasting at BBW. Always a fav of hubbys, and mine too! Oh! That is Mike Bonitata himself.
BBW is worth the stop (click here for info), and be sure to go early enough to also enjoy the museum, and after I encourage you to stop in the charming historic district of Auburn (you can find details and photos of Auburn under the daycation listings/labels here on my blog) , there is many great shops, places to eat and history to soak in amongst the hilly streets....and more great wine to taste!


1 comment:

  1. Ruby, what a lovely day this looks like ... and I must say, darling, you're looking fabulous! Did you do something different with your hair, get it cut? Looks so sleek and sophisticated! Thanks for sharing all of your little weekend daycations .. they're fun to enjoy vicariously! xoxo


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