What’s the “easy” way to get certified organic? Forty years ago, Kenyon Elliot’s uncle by marriage planted 11.5 acres of wine grapes plus fruit trees on his 20 acres. Years later, the opportunity arose for Kenyon to purchase and revitalize the abandoned vineyard, fulfilling a lifelong dream: Field Number Fifteen, a small 600 case winery outside Placerville, CA in El Dorado County in California’s Sierra Nevada Foothills located at a 2500′ elevation.
Because the vineyards had been neglected, Kenyon could easily attain CCOF organic certification prior to releasing the first wines in 2020.
Recovering the vineyards has been a lot of work for this high school ceramics teacher and his wife working on weekends and during the summer. Kenyon and wife Lizzy think outside of the box as they focus on making wine from organic, sustainable, loved, grapes with an emphasis on rosé because he likes it and he could release wines quickly. Those 20 acres and a cultural reference give rise to the name of his LLC: 20 Acres and a Tractor.
At 2500’ in the Sierra Foothills surrounded by forests, Kenyon’s acreage mostly steep slopes bring visitors outrageous views from the tasting room which offers music and food on the weekends. His 11.5 acres of vineyards at Field Number Fifteen include Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Barbera. With tending, the vines will begin to produce more, and Kenyon won’t need to purchase organic fruit to round out his offerings.
With 2020 his first commercial release, only a few estate wines are available: big, bold, flavorful wines designed to be enjoyed cold during the heat of a summer’s day yet they still offer that special “Sierra spice.” For whites and rosé he uses stainless, and for reds, oak.
All three wines in the Slow Wine Guide were awarded “every day wines” and the winery received the “coin” award for great value.
- Fresh Local SQUID PASTA with fresh garlic and parsley
purchased from the Vietnamese fisherman from the dock at Ventura Harbor
- PUFF PASTRY TRIANGLES WITH PEAR and TALEGGIO P.D.O.
- SPINACH “ERBAZZONE” WITH TALEGGIO P.D.O. in Puff Pastry
- BARQUETTES OF BELGIAN ENDIVE AND TALEGGIO P.D.O
- Field Number Fifteen El Dorado Chardonnay 2020
- Field Number Fifteen El Dorado Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2020
- Field Number Fifteen El Dorado Barbera Rosé 2020
- Still to come: 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon, Sparkling Wine in a Can (samples for review)
- Wines discussed below sampled at the winery or purchased with an industry discount
We had planned to also write about Kenyon’s newly released sparkling wine which he sells in a can paired with “Creole-Style African Fish Patties with Pontchartrain Sauce” using catfish we bought from Vallarta and this recipe from Dude That Cooks.
We planned to pair his newly released Cabernet Sauvignon with Southern Style Baked Macaroni and Cheese and Coffee and Bourbon Braised Short ribs with polenta cakes and greens. I learned here that James Hemings, an African American enslaved by Thomas Jefferson, trained as a culinary chef at 19 in France when Jefferson took him there, which led to this dish being a soul food favorite. About the short ribs, recipe author My Pretty Brown Fit + Eats. writes “With the origin of coffee being birthed out of the continent of Africa, it has also become a staple worldwide. Growing up in the deep south, this recipe is a beautiful fusion of our parents, grandparents as well as our ancestors” which fits nicely into Kenyon’s story.
We’re looking forward to sampling the new wines and sharing more from our interview with Kenyon during our June 2021 visit for Slow Wine Guide.
Field Number Fifteen El Dorado Chardonnay 2020
Harvested a bit late and with about 10% raisins, the grapes were pressed off quickly to offer a clean crisp yet unique chardonnay profile.
Color: Very golden, bright flashy gold like a gold chain.
Aroma: The nose may be the most interesting thing about this wine. Dusty dirt, mineral rich soil, pollen, chamomile, earthen, honey,
Palate: The wine tastes like it may be starting to go.
Pairing: Minerals and earth, it is a bit bitter on the back end. We liked this wine when we were there in June, but this vintage is not a lay me down kind of wine, although future vintages might be as Kenyon learns his craft. Lemony tartness with lemon curd and may be a bit of VA. We appreciated this wine much more when we were visiting Kenyon at the winery when it was fresh but with food it was more enjoyable. With our arugula cheese stuffed endive, the rocket was more bitter than the wine which in turn brought out nice fruit in the wine.
The Taleggio honey walnut stuffed endive was absolutely beautiful with the wine.
For Sue this was the best with the pear Taleggio puff pastry. The dish takes away any of the bitter in the wine. Everything is so harmonious and happy together. The wine is also fantastic with the squid pasta which was enhanced with the Malden salt. It is a light bright dish that contrasts well with this chardonnay.
Field Number Fifteen El Dorado Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2020
I included this stainless steel made wine in Slow Wine Guide pointing out that it has nice acidity, with light cherry fruit on the palate, and Sierra spice to make this an easy to enjoy rosé.
Field Number Fifteen El Dorado Barbera Rosé 2020
Made in stainless steel, fresh fruit bursts onto the palate up front, but the finish is bone dry and very balanced in this intentionally made rosé.
Color: Beautiful color, raspberry koolaid, golden rim
Aroma: Mineral hot springs, cherry, lemon lime, tart cherry, pine needle,
Palate: Tart cherry, jolly rancher cherry without the sweetness because this is a very dry rose wine. The finish is a lingering cherry that does not quit, carried along with a nice acidity. We both felt that this would make a wonderful cocktail wine. Mix this wine with a little seltzer water and a spritz of lime. This is an enjoyable summer sipper.
Pairing: We started out with bacon spinach cheese stuffed puffed pastry and were so fantastic together. Nice with the arugula and cheese stuffed endive, the dish brings out lovely fruit in the wine. Fantastic with the squid pasta.
WINERY: Field Number Fifteen
ADDRESS: 4771 Greenhills Rd, Placerville, CA 95667
From host David Crowley: Wine Pairing Weekend always includes food pairings with the featured wines. I encourage you to think about ways you might lift up BIPOC folks on the food side of the equation, too. Some ideas for consideration:
- Buy ingredients from a BIPOC owned business or a BIPOC maker.
- Order takeout from a BIPOC owned restaurant.
- Buy a cookbook from a BIPOC author and make a recipe.
- Learn about the amazing contributions of Black Americans to our food culture and cook a traditional dish.
- Cook a recipe from a BIPOC blogger, linking to their recipe post for the details. There’s a Black History Month roundup from Eat The Culture that could be one starting point.
RESOURCES FOR FINDING BIPOC WINES
Here are a few resources David have found for sourcing BIPOC wines:
- 23 Black Owned Wine Businesses in the US — list from Melanin is Life
- The Urban Grape, a Black owned wine shop here in Boston, has a collection of wines from BIPOC Producers.
- 11 BIPOC Owned Wine Brands from Well + Good
More ideas for BIPOC wines with pairings from the Wine Pairing weekend crew of wine writers! Join our twitter chat 8am Pacific Saturday; see prompts below. Writers share about these topics:
- Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Here’s to Longevity. Cheers!!”
- Culinary Adventures with Camilla is sharing “Cherry-Kissed Pairing: Maison Noir’s Horseshoes and Handgrenades + Steaks in a Cherry Pan Sauce”
- Linda from My Full Wine Glass shares “Back to Brown Estate – for Zin this time”
- Deanna from Wineivore pairs Long Life Noodles + Longevity Chardonnay with a Unique Twist /
- Susannah from Avvinare features “a “a trio of delightful wines from Theopolis Vineyards“
- Here on Wine Predator we have three–“Organic Field Number Fifteen Fulfills a Lifelong Dream in El Dorado #winePW #BHM” and “NFL Super Star Charles Woodson’s “Intercept” Pinot Noir Paired with Smoked Ham #winePW #BHM” and “Kita”
- Nicole from SommsTable is “Cooking to the Wine: Longevity Pinot Grigio with Crab Cakes“
- Host David from Cooking Chat will pair “Berbere Lentil Chili with Rosé from the McBride Sisters”