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Wine Tasting at the Livermore Valley Harvest Wine Celebration

Wine Tasting at the Livermore Valley Harvest Wine Celebration
Wine Tasting at the Livermore Valley Harvest Wine Celebration
Photo by Thos Robinson

Of course, visitors enjoy the music, food and artisan vendors at all the wineries during the Livermore Valley Harvest Wine Celebration on Sunday August 31, but the primary interest at any of the wineries was to taste the wine! After visiting several wineries on Sunday, we found many excellent wines being served.

Caddis Wines – Chris and Courtney Sorenson offered three wines for the Celebration, the 2012 Chardonnay, 2010 Syrah and 2010 “Better Together” Red Blend. There is no shortage of Chardonnay in Livermore Valley, particularly from Del Arroyo Vineyard where these grapes originated. This 2012 Chardonnay stands out for its tropical quality with banana, coconut and fruit nose that continues onto the palate with a grapefruit and orange addition. This leads on to a long finish for this medium body wine.

Cuda Ridge Wines – Larry Dino shared his 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Merlot and 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon to Harvest Wine Celebration wristband holders. The Sauvignon Blanc was a recent release and is done in an old world style fermented and aged in stainless steel to provide and crisp refreshing style with bold acidity. You will enjoy the aromas and flavors of grapefruit, pineapple and lime.

Dante Robere Vineyards – This winery is known for their Estate Syrah and we had the opportunity to sample both the 2012 Syrah and the 2012 Syrah Rose. The Rose is one of the best in the valley; it has been left on the skins long enough to give it a more reddish color than pink and this also gave it a nice fruity quality of strawberry and rhubarb. But it still has a nice crisp acidity that makes it a wonderful summer wine. The Syrah is a medium body with aromas of blackberry, dark cherry, lavender and toast. On the palate those same fruit flavors are combined with a jam and creamy vanilla quality. It leads on to a nice soft finish.

Darcie Kent Vineyards – It is always a pleasure to visit Darcie Kent Vineyards, not only for the wines, but for the art as well. They provided four wines for the Celebration including the 2011 Gruner Veltliner, 2012 Central Coast Chardonnay, 2011 Merlot and 2008 Madden Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. The Gruner Veltliner from Rava Blackjack Vineyards in Monterey is unique and not often found in wineries around California. This wine is very popular in Austria and has found many advocates here in the U.S. as well. It is a nice crisp summer wine that also pairs well with spicy Thai food. It has a nice nose of peaches and citrus but with a touch of white peach that continues on in the palate with a spice, floral and white pepper quality.

Eagle Ridge Vineyard – They were serving four of their wines during the event, the 2012 Estate Pinot Grigio particularly stood out. This is a fantastic dry summer wine with bright acidity and a touch of minerality. The apple and pear flavors make this enjoyable on its own or with chicken or fish. On a warm summer day this wine is a life saver and is a nice way to transition from a hard day’s work to a relaxing evening at home.

Longevity Wines – Debra and Phil Long offered us the award-winning 2010 Syrah from nearby Contra Costa County. The color is a gorgeous deep purple and you will immediate detect the aromas of blackberry, plum and black cherry plus a bit of vanilla and a touch of caramel. It has a nice pleasant finish with a good balance of tannins.

Nottingham Cellars – This year Nottingham has added two new labels, 1846 which celebrates the year that Robert Livermore first planted commercial wine grapes and Vasco Urbano for their Rhone varietals. They served their 1846 Chardonnay and 1846 Red Blend to the Harvest Wine Celebration visitors. The 1846 Chardonnay has only received a short time in the oak barrel and thus retains a lot of the bright acidity and varietal character but still picked up its round body from the barrel. You will love the green apple and tropical fruit aromas and flavors.

Occasio Wines – The Occasio Sauvignon Blanc has long been a favorite with their customers and the 2012 vintage is no exception. It has a bright citrus and tropical fruit aromas and flavors with a good amount of crisp minerality and acid. Again, this is another great summer wine, but is easily paired with food all year long.

Wood Family Vineyards – Rhonda Wood was serving three wines for the event, plus, for an additional fee, two more wines in the winery. The Estate Merlot (from vines surrounding the winery) has the aromas and flavors of black cherry, blackberry and plum with a nice touch of vanilla and chocolate. It also has a nice forest floor quality that reminds you of camping in the Sierras. Inside we got to sample the Big Wood Zin, 2012 Zinfandel. This is a heavy duty wine and a real joy to drink with plum and raspberry flavors and aromas topped off with sweet cedar and pepper. This is like a raspberry maple syrup on your pancakes in the morning.

This was just a sample of the great wines available from Livermore Valley and you are encouraged to visit the wineries of this nearby wine region to see what the winemakers of Livermore Valley have to offer.

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