Last weekend I went with a couple of friends to Livermore to check out a couple wineries. Some of the wineries were having a special chocolate and wine-pairing event for Valentine’s Day. Both of the wineries we went to we had never been to before. They were on Tesla Road but at least one mile farther east than I had been before.
First we went to Les Chenes Estate Vineyards . We arrived about 3:15 in the afternoon. There was a van full of people who had arrived before we did. It was pretty busy there, but they were able to handle the crowds. They split up the group to three different areas within the tasting room (which is in their barrel room). We paid the $5.00 tasting fee, which comes off if you purchase wine. We tasted their wines. When we got to their Syrah they paired it with a chocolate soufflé (mousse like) in a cup served with a chocolate heart. This was a nice pairing. As we were sipping their Tawney Port we found that they had cheeses out for sampling. They had a horseradish Cheddar, a jalapeno and cayenne Jack and smoked Gouda with bacon. They were all very different and good. Next to the cheeses they had an area where you could sample different mustards with pretzel sticks. The mustards were good too. My friends each bought some cheese. The tasting room was very comfortable and right next door to the owner/winemaker, Richard Dixon’s, house. The views from the winery were very nice. They had one or two tables for picnicking if you wish.
After that we went to Eagle Ridge Vineyards . There tasting room was also in their barrel room that looked like a converted barn. We arrived around 4:10 and were the last guests of the day for them. We sat ourselves down on their barstools and sampled their wines. They do not have a tasting fee. I liked their ’08 Pinot Grigio. They served us chocolate covered cake balls with their Petite Sirah. That was a very nice combination. We also sampled their ‘05, ’06 and ’07 Zinfandel, and their Cabernet Sauvignon and finally their “Mad “Lyn” Port. I left there with a couple bottles of wine, as did my friends. They don’t really have a place to picnic, but the views from the tasting room are beautiful. You can see most of the Livermore Valley. Jim Perry, the owner, was very nice and his friend Phil who was also pouring was great. We had a lot of fun talking wine.
Once again, I’m going to highly recommend that you get out on the weekends and go to a winery or two that you have never been to. If you don’t live near wineries, then go to a wine bar and sample some wines from different wineries.