On Location in Livermore, CA
We decided to take our “first trip” out to some California wineries to celebrate our “first year” as a married couple. Some of the Livermore wineries were also celebrating Earth day with demonstrations and tours.
It was a hard choice to pick where to start with just about 50 wineries to choose from in that region! From the images portrayed in the movies about winemaking in California we both thought the wineries would be big and filled with people.
We started at Eagle Ridge Vineyard (www.eagleridgevineyard.com) in order to see some solar panels and check out some wine.
We drove down a dirt road to find a metal building next door to a home. The door was open to a large room with a bar and some wine barrels in the back.
We were greeted by the winemaker who poured us some Pinot grigio, made from grapes grown next door in their daughters vineyard. It was a much smaller operation than what we expected to find but very cozy. We continued through the wine list ending with a port style wine that was sweet but smooth.
Then we went outside to see the 48 panel solar array. It was a pretty large unit but they told us it reduced their electric bill by $700 per month. I’d say that’s worth it!
We purchased a bottle of Pinot Grigio and then on we went to Les Chenes Estate Vineyards (www.leschenesvine.com), right down the road. We found a similar set up for the tasting area, large room amongst the wine barrels.
This place was not quite as rustic as the first and guests were seated at high top tables. Maria was excited because all of our wine was accompanied by a food pairing.
Les Chenes specializes in Rhone and Rhone-inspired wines so the first wine was a blend of white grapes. All of the wines had nice aromas and flavors and the food pairings were delicious!
During the tasting we spoke with Richard, the winemaker and learned all about estate wines and how to make a port. We had a great time and decided we couldn’t leave without some blue cheese and chutney from our first pairing. The chutney was made by the winemaker’s wife and so flavorful!
Our final stop of the day was Boa Ventura de Caires Winery (www.boaventuravineyard.com). This winery was recommended since it is open for tastings on a varying schedule.
The atmosphere was different here in many ways, from the tasting to the grounds and the vineyard. The tasting was conducted at our own pace and we could sit outside in the adirondack chairs between wines.
The weather was beautiful, in the 80’s, so we couldn’t pass up the chance to soak up the sun! There were 10 wines available for tasting so we took our time and enjoyed the day.
At Boa Ventura there are many microclimates allowing them to create 5 different Cabernet Sauvignon wines. This was very interesting to see at a single winery and fun to try!
One of the best things today was no sulfite tastes or effects. This is something we’ve found to be more common in the boutique wineries. Their wines are more handmade and personalized so the chemicals are not as big of a factor in the process.
We had a great time trying such a variety of wines and can’t wait to give the other 47 wineries that we missed today a try!