The weekend is upon us and if you’re in the Bay Area looking for something to do, I think it’ll be a perfect weekend for wine tasting! I know it’s not “Wine Wednesday”, but there should never just be one day dedicated to wine…it should be every day!
It’s hard to believe but one thing I haven’t done much of is go wine tasting. My husband and I are vowing to change that, especially since there are countless vineyards so close to us. A few weekends ago we ventured to Livermore and met up with our nephew and his family to try out 3 wineries; 3 Steves Winery, Garre Winery, and Wente Vineyards. We’ve tasted Wente wines before, but the other two were going to be brand new experiences. I reached out to the 3 wineries to let them know we would be visiting and they were all welcoming to us, our kids and the dogs!
We packed a picnic, all the kids, the dog, the stroller and headed out for the quick 45 minute drive to Livermore. Our first stop was 3 Steves where we were greeted by Steve Burman…one of the “Steves”! He was extremely welcoming and ready for us to start tasting. We had a large round table outside where the breeze was perfectly blowing and the sun was shining. There was an area for the kids and dogs to play and the view was gorgeous. We tasted 8 different varieties and every single one was memorable and noteworthy.
We started with the Brut Sparkling Wine, fermented in the bottle and not in the tank, which is the traditional Methode Champenoise style. This was a perfect and welcoming start. Next up was the Sauvignon Blanc which won the Livermore gold medal. This was so delicious! I came home with a bottle and am hoarding it for the perfect warm afternoon to relax with. We tried their club Chardonnay which is currently sold out. It was buttery but with a distinct crispness. Next up and so impressive was the 2013 Interino Chilean Blend. An incredible blend of Chilean Cab, Carmenere, Malbec, and Syrah. Each grape is hand de-stemmed by women in the local village which not only provides a softness to your palette…you bet I now have a bottle of this at home! We enjoyed the Three Cabs Blend and Cienega Valley Younger Vine Zinfandel which comes from 45 year old vines. Next was the Cienega Valley Ancient Vine Zinfandel whose vines were planted in 1906! I thoroughly enjoyed the Small Lot Cab and also came home with a bottle of that. If you are in the area, please stop by 3 Steves. We are looking forward to going back very shortly not just for the fabulous wine but also for the friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
Our next stop was Garre Winery which unfortunately didn’t blow our minds like 3 Steves did. We were greeted and asked about outside seating for the kids and the dogs and were shown where the outdoor patio was. That was the extent of our interaction with anyone at the winery. We got our own tastings to bring back outside and the wines were ok. They started us with their Sangiovese Rose which they refer to as their “patio wine” followed by 5 other reds. All of their bottles are under $20.
Our last stop was Wente Vineyards. Wente is a great wine which I’ve boasted about being able to find for really great prices at Costco. Their property is large with multiple areas to taste and have events. Their tasting menu offers two options so we went with the Winemaker’s Flight. As soon as you step onto the property you are offered a “welcome wine” which happened to be a Sauvignon Blanc and was a perfect welcome! We had two great tasting room employees who tag teamed our group. We tried the Small Lot Pinot Noir Rose, Nth Degree Chardonnay, Sonata, Duetto and Small Lot Petite Sirah. Every single wine was great. The Nth degree Chardonnay was crisp with a buttery aftertaste which I enjoyed.
Some fun facts for you…90% of the country’s wine is grown in California…only 4% of which is in Napa and the first Chardonnay grape was planted by Wente in 1912.