One scorching Friday night this June, my best friend and I were sitting on my front porch having our normal discussion of our crappy week. I had managed to get lost going to see the dentist that day, and I was in tears. My dentist had to walk over to the next parking lot and jump in my truck to rescue me from being lost. (What dentist does that? Thank you!) Back to the front porch: I had come up with a brilliant plan out of the clear blue sky, to head to Sutter Creek, in Amador County, the following day. I said it would be an adventure; we could go get lost together since the women in my family are so directionally dysfunctional. Did I mention my best friend is also my cousin? We planned on browsing the shops in this sleepy gold country town, and hitting some of the wine tasting stops.
We intended to go see the Lorraine, owner of the shop Pedal Pushers Down Home. Also we had heard of an awesome glass blowing shop in Sutter Creek we wanted to check out. When we arrived we found wine tasting, antiques, and an old-fashioned style candy shop. We only had about five hours to spend, so plan accordingly if you’re doing a day trip, or you’ll end up wanting to go two or three times. Amador County is known for wine tasting in the foothills so have fun and bring a DD.
We entered an antique furniture shop and browsed around enjoying just looking. There were some interesting pieces from different eras all through the shop. We hit some local art shops on our way to see Lorraine. We passed a cheese and beer wine tasting shop planed on going back after seeing Lorraine. Then we passed a local bar, The Annex, which our guide Thomas informed us opened at 5:00pm.
We entered Lorraine’s shop, Pedal Pushers, filled with nostalgic goodies. You can’t miss it ; there is an old fire engine pedal car hanging over the door. This is where the FNDC has obtained the vintage liquor signs you see in their videos. This was my first time meeting Lorraine, who is always running the shop. It was awesome to see her goodies and things for sale. I love this kind of stuff, shopping for antiques and vintage items are so much fun. This is a great place to pick up trinkets and gifts. We said our goodbyes and headed out, picking up a few friends along the way.
The old-time candy shop was next: Memory Lane features hand-made fudge of all different kinds and candy in jars, counters, cases, and shelves. There are cow tails, jawbreakers; everything is filled with your eatable desires. You can purchase fudge by the pound, half-pound, or quarter-pound. Memory Lane is a candy shop just like Grandma and Grandpa remember as children, or right out of the Willy Wonka movie. We ended up buying some haystacks and peanut butter fudge.
The Adult fun began at Scott Harvey Wines; we enjoyed a wonderful Sauvignon Blanc great flavor for that risotto dish chicken and rice if you prefer yum. I also recommend the Angel Eis wine: it is a red dessert wine sweet and perfect for that dark chocolate dessert. I first tried a flash frozen version of this in Canada at 18 years old served in chocolate cups; it was divine and heavenly. We walked away with a bottle of One Last Kiss. The service was great; this was Cortney’s first time wine tasting, so the server was very informative for her and helpful, making sure it was a great first experience. Once again, we were told to try the cheese and beer place tasting place we passed on our way in.
We hit the glass blowing shop, Chaos Glassworks when we were informed it would be closing shortly. Don’t miss it. There is just the most amazing stuff to see. This guy is an artist living a dream of having his own shop this is inspiring. He has blowing demonstrations on-site. He sells items as small as jewelry and doorknobs to as big as lamps, and bowls that are worthy of a decorative masterpiece. I’m very into glass art, so please understand this was all I needed for this trip to be extraordinary. While walking through this shop look everywhere he has displayed work all over don’t forget to look up.
Cortney and I ventured to the Thomi’s Café on the corner, very good service friendly people everywhere. We needed a quick soda on the run for the day was warming up fast. We exited, crossing the street meeting up with my sexy Jöhnny Dîablø, waiting for us in the shade leaning against a post.
We figured our next stop would be Sutter Creek Wine Tasting with 40+ wines to taste. We stepped in and were greeted right away to see if we are doing wine tasting today. We replied yes, and were granted enough counter space at the bar for us and our other various packages. Our server Mary Jo was awesome maybe it was a common red-head thing but whatever. We tasted some whites nothing memorable for me (you will see why later). The Blush Zinfandel was very much a yummy blend of summery goodness. We were encouraged again to hit the Sutter Creek Cheese Shoppe with cheeses being imported from around the world. We really wanted to go there as now we have had three people tell us to check it out.
Sutter Creek Wine Tasting is where we really hit pay dirt. Cortney said, “Can we try the pomegranate sparkling wine?” This was the perfect blend of sparkling wine and fruitiness. I said “I want this at my wedding, at least in the room while we get ready.” Then we both said, “We want to try all the flavors on the list.” The Le Mulet Rouge flavored champagnes are all exceptional. The peach caresses your tongue; it is just as if you had taken a bite of the ripe fruit itself, then you feel the sparkles with the touch of alcohol and back to a peach finish. The almond is crisp all the way through; it is also going to be at my wedding. The raspberry is wonderful for that raspberry lover who wants that tart nip on your tongue that raspberries have. This whole list is what summer should be. I can’t rave enough about these sparkling wines only sold by Le Mulet Rouge. We walked out with three bottles, and bubbles in our brains.
We strolled the other side knowing our time was growing shorter we had to be home and wanted to stop in Sloughhouse to get corn. We slid in and out of various trinket shops. One was a music box shop. Neat, but no time, so we cruised on to the fossil shop. You can’t miss it there is a huge fossilized mouth of some kind with jagged teeth in the front window. The sales lady spoke to Thomas about petrified wood while Lilly and I shopped for beads. Then we left the shop for home.
We had a forty-five minute ride home, with a stop at Sloughouse for a three dollar bag of the best corn on the cob in town. All the way I kept on thinking of sparkling wine and couldn’t wait to get a bottle open. We arrived unloaded the car and came up with putting the wine in the freezer on insta-freeze.
We couldn’t wait so we busted out the ghetto ice bucket. Grab the biggest pot you have, add ice and water, add some salt, put the bottle in sideways and rotate after each cigarette. About four or five smokes later depending on mood and conversation, and you are good to go!
As the evening went, so did all three bottles at 11% ABV—what did you expect? We talked about life with tiny bubbles in our brains, giggling and making wedding plans. We also talked about going back to the cheese shop to drink beer and taste cheese, my best friend and I. My mother came by on her way to a party, so I asked her to have some with us so she could loosen up for the party. We gabbed a while with mom, and my dad said, “We’d better go.” My mother took her last sip and started slapping the bottom of her glass, removing it from her lip, saying “That stuff’s good!” Licking her lips, she stood up and adjusted her dress, saying “Let’s go.” We girls laughed so hard. As the night progressed, I texted my dad, better hurry or this stuff will be gone. He texted me, no way momma wants some more, save some. This was one of those days you hold close to your heart forever (thanks, Cortney). The following day she wrote me a check for her half of the bubbly, and in the check notation it said “tiny bubbles in our brains”. We then laughed at the bank teller who processed that check and wondered what they would think.
I would also like to thank Jöhnny Dîablø for putting up with us and being the wonderful sport he is.
All photography © 2012 by Lillyana Resler.