Livermore Cabernet Blend Scores Against the Best

You don’t get to do one of
these every day, a blind tasting with


Opus One

Joseph Phelps Insignia

Ridge Montebello

Continuum (Tim Mondavi)




I just heard 5 “Wows!” and 1
“Huh?”  Those first 5 are
consistently top California Cabernet Sauvignon bottles.  $150 per bottle and up.  So what is that sixth wine, and why is
it in the tasting? 


Lineage is a Bordeaux blend
from Steven Kent Mirassou.  If the
name is familiar, it should be. 
The Mirassou family is the oldest winemaking family in America, and
Steven is the 6
th generation of winemakers in the family.  “Steven Kent
may also be familiar, as it’s the name of his winery in the
Livermore Valley.  When he founded the winery back in
1996, his goal was to make one great wine, a Bordeaux blend that would show
what the Livermore Valley could produce. 


Lori and I live next door to
the Livermore Valley, and have been tasting wines there for the last 20+
years.  Livermore has consistently
good wines, very good wines for the price, and occasionally great wines.  It’s a different growing region, with
an east-west oriented valley (unusual for California) producing huge summertime
temperature swings.  Add in a few
different microclimates and soil types, a history of winemaking and
grape-growing that goes back to the 1840s, and you have the makings of a great
wine region.  However, the
Livermore VAlley hasn’t been known for its great wines, but instead for the
large producers and good value. 


To find out if Steven Kent
Mirassou can make a great wine, and change the reputation of the Livermore
Valley, we should return to the tasting. 
We went into San Francisco for this tasting, put on by the
American Institute of Wine and Food
(AIWF).  About 20 of us, tasting
those 6 wines, all from the 2009 vintage, blind.  The results were, from last to first:


6.            Opus

5.            Phelps

3.            Dominus

3.            Ridge

2.            Lineage

1.            Continuum


All of us tasting were wine
lovers, with a fair bit of experience tasting wines, but all amateurs.  And 20 people is not a lot, from a
statistical point of view.  Still,
the Livermore wine, Lineage, hung with the big boys and showed that it deserved
to be there. 


Well done, Steve Kent








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