Wine Tasting in the Livermore Region

Last Saturday Larry and I and another couple, Liz and Werner, went for the afternoon to experience the Livermore Wine Region.  We started out by stopping off at our local Sprouts store and picked up picnic supplies such as cheeses, salami’s, olives and chocolate.  We had already packed sliced baguette, grapes and water.

Off we went to Retzlaff Vineyards.  We hadn’t been there in years but remembered that they have nice picnic grounds.  We started there by each of us buying a wine flight to taste.  It only cost $5.00 per person.  Liz and I had the red and white combo flight, Larry had the red flight and Werner had the white flight.  They were pretty good wines.  We ended up buying a bottle of their Rose of Merlot and took it out to enjoy with our picnic lunch.  It was a beautiful 75 degrees with a slight wind.  We were sitting in white plastic chairs and had a large round table all to ourselves in the shade of the trees.  Their grape vines were just 20 feet away from us and had already been harvested.

                                            Retzlaff Winery

From there we went to Steven Kent Winery, just 5 minutes away.  When we arrived they had a sign out that said please wait to be brought to a table.  They had two flight available for tasting and each couple bought one of each.  It cost $15.00 for each flight of 4 wines.  The one Liz and I sampled had one white and the rest cabs and the men got the flight that had a rose’ of pinot noir and the rest pinot noir. 

We were enjoying our tasting when Tracy, their VP of retail sales walked into the tasting room.  We had just seen her on Thursday night when Larry and I went into San Francisco for a blind wine tasting that included wines from Santa Cruz, Napa and Livermore.  Out of 6 tastings of 2009 cabernet sauvignon blends that sell for $145 + the Livermore wine came in second place and that wine was a Steven Kent wine.  We said hi to Tracy and talked with her for a few minutes.  After talking with her she asked if we had a few extra minutes to try some more wines.  We said yes, so she set us up in La Rochelle Winery, which is owned and operated by Steven Kent and is right next door.  We walked next door and they had 4 seats set up with a Library Cabernet Vertical tasting of 4 wines.  Each setting also had a plate with a sampling of triple cream brie, Manchego sheep’s milk cheese, blue Castello cow’s milk cheese and a fig and olive tapenade all served with some crackers.  Michael who works there helped us through the tasting and answered all the questions we had for him.  The tasting was from 2004-2007.  Of course we all liked the wines with some of them being ready to drink now and some still able to stay laying down in the bottle.  Each bottle sells for $65.00 which isn’t a bad price especially I think for the ’05 and the ’07. 

This was a very fun experience and a very special treat for us!  We thanked Tracy and Michael for making this a wonderful tasting experience.  We might go back in the month of October when they will be doing another vertical but with the Cabernet blend called Lineage, but more likely we will go back in November when they will be doing a vertical tasting with their Pinot Noir. 

We got home just in time for our younger son and daughter-in-law to handoff our 7 month old granddaughter for the night while they went to a Further concert in Berkeley.  It took us awhile to sober up but we did just fine and had a great time babysitting. 

Cheers

Lori

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