We spent part of today, our 11th anniversary, winetasting in Livermore – our closest winemaking region. The wines were generally pretty good, though not remarkable, and the wineries cute and modern. In all we had a great time. We made it to four wineries, apparently all I can take before getting too tipsy.
Concannon Vineyards, our first stop, seems to specialize in Syrah. Here we learned what a difference a few years aging can make. The 2000 Syrah was completely undrinkable for me – it was too tannic and acidic. The 1995, on the other hand, was quite pleasant. We found the other wines to be OK but unremarkable. I probably liked the Cab most of all, but it tasted just like your run of the mill $10 Cab (though it was probably more expensive than that). On the plus side, this winery has a very nice tasting room.
Stony Ridge Winery, our second stop, features not only their wines but those of Crooked Vine Winery, owned by the same people. Here we met some new wines for us like the orobianco (nicely drinkable) and the nebbiolo (id). But the Malvasia Bianca, a not-too-sweet dessert wine, was by far our favorite. If we only ever drank the dessert wines we bought, we’d have bought a bottle.
Our third stop was Steven Kent which was featuring Tamas Estates wines. All the wines here were nicely priced, completely drinkable but not too interesting. In a way, these are the perfect wines to serve at a party. They are sure to not offed anyone, beginners won’t find them too challenging and wine lovers won’t find them too cheap.
Finally, we went to Murrieta’s Well, a very cute “boutique” winery owned by Wente. Murrieta is trying very hard to be different by offering unique blends and not-very-common grapes. It has a Chilean winemaker that comes a few times a year to select the grapes and do the blending. You have to pay $5 to taste six wines here, and is probably worth it as they were by far the best wines we tasted in Livermore. Of the two white I liked the “Los tesoros de Joaquín” Chardonnay & Semillon blend the best. It was a smooth yet bodied wine that I could imagine would be perfect for sipping before a hearty meal or drinking with bread and cheese. Of the reds, I liked the Tempranillo quite a bit as well, specially for the price. It was smoother than a cab but probably as satisfying. I also really liked the Sarzuela, a mixture of tempranillo with other grapes, though probably not enough to justify the difference in prices. Murrieta’s pride and joy, the Red Vendimia, surprisingly didn’t do much for me, even though it’s a blend of cab and other varietals that I like.