On Saturday, October 12, 2013, Davis Dean Cellars, a small, family run winery, celebrated the grand opening of their tasting room in historic Lincoln. Their Napa chardonnay and Lodi zinfnadels, all pressed at the home office (the family's house in Rocklin, CA) are now available for tasting and purchase in the official new tasting room located on the second floor of the Lincoln Brand Feeds Building (448 Lincoln Blvd. Suite 203). The building, besides being rustic and beautiful, happens to blend perfectly into the Placer County Wine Trail: "A series of small family-run boutique wineries each dedicated to preserving the historic winemaking legacy of the California Sierra Foothills with passion and craftsmanship. Just a short 30 minute drive from Sacramento, the trail runs through Loomis, Lincoln, Newcastle and Auburn and is easily accessible from I-80, 65 and Highway 49."
Marshall, family man and head vintner, has always been the chef for the family. In 2008, he decided to start making wine commercially and while on bonding leave for his newest child, he decided to use his free time to get bonded. It takes a few years for wine to develop, and now, five years later, with a half dozen silver and bronze ribbons hanging on the wall, he's open for business.
His current menu is small, with five respectable wines, but his vision is big. His little nook at the Feeds Building right on Highway 65, is a spot helping to extend the Placer County Wine Trail closer into Lincoln and his tasting room opens at 11:00 a.m. As most of the larger tasting rooms are a little further down the road and don't open until noon, he's hoping to entice and encourage tasters to get a head start on their voyage and give him a chance.
The lightest wine he offers is a 2012 "Shameless" Chardonnay made with Napa grapes. This chardonnay was cured in French oak and took the Bronze medal at the 2013 L.A. International Wine Competition.
The 2009 Zynthia (Lodi zinfandel) is his version of a "light, unfiltered, entry level red wine for white wine drinkers." This zin is more a dark rose' and is meant to be served chilled. This Zynthia has two silver medals from the 2013 L.A. International Wine Competition.
The 2010 Zynthia (Lodi zinfandel) should be served at 60F and has a stronger oak profile. In fact, it spent 10 months in the oak casks holding up the bar top it will now be served upon in the tasting room. Marshall wanted to bring the earthy basement smell of wine maturing in a cask to his tasting room. This zinfandel also won three silver medals in the 2013 L.A. International Wine Competition.
The last two wines, both Lodi zinfandels, are Marshall's main draw. The 2011 Zynthia spent 12 months in an oak cask and in Marshall's words, "Two months in oak make a big difference." The oak profile is much more apparent and quite pleasing. "I explain it differently to women than men," Marshall says, explaining the contrast between the 2011 Zynthia and the 2010 Willow's Reserve (also a Lodi zinfandel). "If this (the Zynthia) is a cherry, this (the Reserve) is a chocolate covered cherry." Or, "If this is a filet mignon, this is a bacon wrapped filet with bleu."
The wines are respectable, Marshall is pleasant, and the tasting room is lovely. If headed out on the wine trail you'd likely pass Davis Dean Cellars regardless...so why not stop? Meanwhile, shopping inside the Lincoln Brand Feeds Building is a trip to the future, and a trip to the past. Much like Marshall, the other shop keepers are selling products made in the old world way. Can't make a tasting between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Saturday or Sunday? Don't worry, private tastings are available by appointment.