Posts Tagged ‘California’
It’s Time to Drink Wine (in Livermore Valley)!
Reposted by permission of Tales Told From The Road
Along with my wife and friends, I’ve made many “Economic Stimulus Trips” (that means eating fine food and drinking fine wine) to California’s famous wine-making valleys: Alexander, Napa, Russian River, and Sonoma. I’ve traveled to some of Europe’s top wine regions like the Alsace, Burgundy, and Tuscany. And in October I had a grand time at British Columbia’s Okanagan Wine Festival.But guess what long-time wine producing region, not far from my home, I’ve never, ever, ever, set foot in? If you said “Livermore Valley”, you would be right. And what’s amazing about my failure to get there is that the very first wine I drank when I came to California back in 1968 was Pinot Chardonnay from the family-owned Wente Vineyards which has been in business since 1883.
The Wine Seeker’s Guide to Livermore Valley by travel writer Thomas C. Wilmer is going to change all of that. This guidebook to one of California’s “hidden” wine destinations covers Wente (page 141 of Tom’s book) and thirty-nine other wineries. The names of three are particularly intriguing to me: Darcie Ken Vineyards & Underdog Wine Bar (I always think of myself as an “underdog”), Longevity Wines (I’ll drink to a long life drinking wine!), and The Singing Winemaker (has Elvis entered the winery building?).
But since man (nor woman) cannot live by wine tasting alone, Tom has included an extensive “Things to Do and See” section at the end of the book with these headings:
- Shops & Wine Bars (Niles Canyon Railway’s Wine Tasting on Wheels” sounds like the way to go)
- Events (I worked at a wine country cooking school, so the Taste of Terroir: Livermore Valley’s Wine & Food Experience has got me salivating)
- Theater (the Livermore Shakespeare Festival is much closer to my home than the similar theater extravaganza that I often attend in Southern Oregon)
- Activities (I like to go day-hiking, and this guidebook lists several trails and parks in the Livermore area)
- Places to See (the Lawrence Livermore Lab and the long-burning Centennial Light Bulb at Fire Station #6 will appeal to “high energy” fans)
- Golf (best to try making par on Wente’s Greg Norman designed course before you begin wine tasting)
- Restaurants (stay to dine at Wente after your round of golf, or play bocce ball and then eat at Campo di Bocce)
- Lodging (major hotel chains, the stylish Rose Hotel, or the rustic Purple Orchid Inn Resort & Spa)
- Visitors Resources (contact information for the local wine growers association, visitor & convention bureau, and chambers of commerce)
- Towns (a brief description of the region’s seven towns and Livermore Valley American Viticultural area)
Now that Northern California’s damp and stormy winter has blown away and spring has arrived, I’m excited about using The Wine Seeker’s Guide to Livermore Valley to plan my next wine tasting excursion. Since it’s also available in a Kindle version, I could read the e-book on my PC and highlight those wineries and other places I want visit on my first trip, then leave my printed version at home and refer to my Kindle notes using my iPhone. (Thanks to Tom Wilmer for providing me with a review copy of his guidebook).
(Tom Wilmer got into journalism as a copy boy for the West Coast edition of the The Wall Street Journal. Since then his travels around the globe have racked up more miles than two trips to the Moon—the one place he hasn’t been yet—and back. His Audiolog travel programs have aired on Central California NPR affiliate radio stations for over twenty years. Now you can find him on YouTube (as in this clip about Livermore Valley wineries), too. Tom and Dick Jordan are both members of Bay Area Travel Writers.)
The Central Coast prides itself on being off the beaten path, even though this is becoming less and less the case as the area gains notoriety and vineyards continue to sprout up like wildflowers. One can easily find wines of equal caliber to their…
Each week I like to choose a new wine to introduce to our fans. These wines vary by region, by varietal and even by price. I don’t think cost and value are necessarily related. So I like to focus on wines I have experienced on my travels and I think our fans will enjoy trying. salut!
Region: Mendocino County, California
89 Points, John Szabo MS
Subdued, ripe but fresh example of sauvignon from biodynamic producer Paul Dolan, with intriguing lime cordial, fresh pear and guava flavours. The palate is well balanced, with above average complexity and lingering finish. Very pleasant, still refreshing, sipping or food-friendly wine. Tasted March 2011. Value Rating: **1/2
www.winealign.com (Apr 2011)
My love of California Zinfandel is no secret. I’ve often said I’d bathe in it and spray it on my pulse points like perfume if socially acceptable. I am a self-proclaimed Zin-head, Zin connoisseur and Zin snob. I’m basically a walking, talking version of the Zins I adore; big, bold and mouthful of sensual spice with piercing touches of spice and layers of sweetness but no tolerance for bullshit. One of my absolute favorites to date, the one I am salivating over right now at the mere thought of the aroma, look, taste and feel of it, is Chiarello Family Vineyards’ Felicia Old Vine Zinfandel.
Since he was a Southern Italian little boy growing up in Central California, Owner and co-winemaker of Chiarello Family Vineyard’s Michael Chiarello dreamt of being a world class chef. He worked hard, trained hard and fulfilled those teenage dreams. He apprenticed in restaurants as a teen, graduated from the Culinary Institute in New York at 20, voted Food and Wine Chef of the Year when he was 23 and opened his first restaurant, Tra Vigne back in Napa Valley at 24. He recently opened his latest restaurant, Bottega.