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Wente Experience

November 7, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

As you know, I collect wine experiences. Anywhere I go, I’m looking for wine-related experiences – locally produced wine in the restaurant, great concept bar in the airport, such as Vino Volo, or visit to a winery whenever possible.

When traveling to California, it is essentially expected that one should be able to find a winery to visit. During the last week’s trip, we decided to visit Wente Vineyards in Livermore Valley together with my friend Kfir Pravda (@kfirpravda). The selection process was simple – we didn’t have much time before the meetings, Livermore Valley was close enough, and Wente was the only name I could recognize on the map.

Turns out that it was a very good decision. I was not really familiar with Wente wines before, outside of their mutual project with the Food Network, Entwines, so it was very interesting to start from scratch. By the way, a quick side note – we visited the winery at the very beginning of November, but harvest was still going on – I guess 2011 wines will be interesting…

Wente produces four different families of wines – Vineyard Selection, Heritage Block, Small Lot and Nth Degree. Only the first two can be found in the stores – Small Lot is available at the winery only, and Nth Degree is only available through the mailing list.

We started from the 2010 Small Lot Viogneir, which was very nice and bright – not necessarily the French style, but still very enjoyable. Next we tried two Chardonnays:

2010 Morning Fog Chardonnay Livermore Valley was completely unoaked, with good tropical fruit and fresh apples, good acidity, balanced and not overpowering. 2009 Riva Ranch Chardonnay Arroyo Seco Monterey was a bit more concentrated, with aromas of vanilla and toasted oak, all very balanced, with an excellent acidity (this wine belongs to Heritage Block collection).

Moving to the reds, we started with 2009 Small Lot Counoise, as it was a very unusual wine. Counoise is a red grape mostly used in Rhone in France where it is blended with many other grapes to produce Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines – it is very rarely bottled on its own. This wine was very interesting – dark concentrated color, bit of a spiciness on the palate, good balance – I thought I found a winner. Well, yes, until I tries the next two wines – Grenache and Petite Sirah:

2009 Small Lot Grenache was incredible – velvety smooth, with beautiful fruit expression, a touch of coffee and chocolate, as well as hint of earthiness. If anything, it was very comparable with some of the best Grenache wines in the world – Spanish Grenache wines, such as the top wines of Alto Moncayo. This Grenache wine was definitely highlight of the tasting (Drinkability: 9-). 2009 Small Lot Petite Sirah was following the suit with more intense color and higher fruit concentration, very balanced with good acidity and tannins, easy to drink and inviting.

Wente Vineyards is also a home to a restaurant (The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards), which was outstanding. The restaurant focuses on local ingredients, and therefore serves what is in the season. Here is a picture report for you  – all the food was absolutely delicious.

Smoked Sturgeon Salad (probably best smoked sturgeon ever):

Angus Burger:

Chocolate caramel cake:

and Ginger IceCream:

All the food was absolutely delicious and perfectly presented, so if you are ever in the area, I would highly recommend that you shouldn’t miss The Restaurant at the Wente Vineyards.

That’s all for the great experiences at the Wente Vineyards – I really wish though those Small Lot wines would be available in the store.

So long till the next post – Cheers!

Restaurant at Wente Vineyards
5050 Arroyo Rd
Livermore, CA 94550
(925) 456-2450
http://www.wentevineyards.com/restaurant/

Restaurant at Wente Vineyards on Urbanspoon

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  1. December 27, 2011 at 8:39 am

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