Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Petite Sirah Celebration Weekend - July 30

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the first bottling of Petite Sirah as a varietal, Livermore Valley will be celebrating the weekend of July 30-31.

The Niles Canyon Railway is hosting the “Petite Sirah on the Rails” on Saturday, July 30, 2011. The two-hour train ride leaves Niles at 3:30pm sharp; tickets are $45/person (21 and over, please).
Niles Canyon Railway began before the transcontinental railroad. By 1869, with the completion of the transcontinental railway, the route through Niles Canyon linked San Francisco Bay to the rest of the country. 

On July 30, guests will board a restored vintage train and sample five special Petite Sirahs from some of the best winemakers in the Valley including Concannon Vineyard,Nottingham Cellars,McGrail Vineyards,Charles R Vineyards and Bent Creek Winery. Each wine will be paired with a delicious hors d’oeuvre or cheese as wine educator Steve Ferree shares the history of Livermore Valley wines, especially Petite Sirah. Fourth generation vintner John Concannon, Concannon Vineyard, Collin Cranor of Nottingham Cellars, and Mark Clarin of McGrail Vineyards will give further insight into the popularity of Petite Sirah in today’s wine landscape.  Ticket price is $45 and boarding starts at 3:00 p.m. at the Niles Station in Fremont.

Following the rail excursion, McGrail Vineyards is hosting “A Celebration of Livermore’s Shining Star: Petite Sirah” from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. at McGrail Vineyards, 5600 Greenville Road in Livermore.   This celebratory Petite Sirah Winetasting and Dinner featuring Livermore Petite Sirahs, honors the 50th anniversary of the bottling of Petite Sirah as a varietal, along with a special appearance by honored guest, Jim Concannon. Guests will be invited to sample past and present vintages of Petite Sirah while enjoying paired appetizers, live music, buffet and panoply of Petite Sirah.  There will be an auction of unique Petite Sirah-based centerpieces created by the participating wineries, which include Bent Creek, Concannon, Charles R, Eagle Ridge, Fenestra, Garre, Little Valley, McGrail, Mitchell Katz, Nottingham Cellars, Occasio, Page Mill, Ruby Hill, Thomas Coyne and Wente.  The winetasting is from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. followed by the buffet dinner and desserts 7:30 to 10:00 p.m.  Ticket price is $75 per person and proceeds will be donated to the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association.

In addition to these two events, Livermore Valley wineries are offering discounts on Petite Sirah at their tasting rooms this weekend.

Come out and celebrate Livermore Valley Petite Sirah this weekend.

For more information:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Livermore Valley Taste of Terroir, exciting food and wine

The Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association held their sold-out Taste of Terroir on Thursday, July 21. The 500+ visitors enjoyed the 23 Livermore wineries 16 Tri-Valley restaurants for a great wine and food pairing event.

The judges for Taste of Terroir this year were:
  • Courtney Cochran,Certified sommelier, entrepreneur and author of Your Personal Sommelier® in San Francisco),
  • Sara Schneider, Wine Editor at Sunset Magazine
  • Laura Ness, Wine Writer Independent Magazine
Award winners for the evening were:

Most Innovative Pairing:
Team: Cedar Mountain Winery and Porter’s Restaurant at Poppy Ridge Golf Course
Pairing: Cedar Mountain 2007 Zinfandel from Hansen Vineyard in Livermore Valley paired with local lamb meatballs on a black bean Sopapillas with Jalapeño Jelly.
Judge Laura Ness says, “Sweet and heat works like magic!”

Best Classic Pairing:
Team: Concannon Vineyard and Market Café & Bar at Marriott Pleasanton
Pairing: Concannon 2007 Reserve Petite Sirah from Livermore Valley paired with braised short rib bruschetta.
Judge Sara Schneider says, “Food simply punched up the aromatics and flavor of the wine”

Judges’ Best Pairing:
Team: Nottingham Cellars and Wild Vine Hideaway Bistro & Lounge
Pairing: Nottingham 2009 Malbec from Livermore Valley paired with a seasoned lamb skewers drizzled with a zesty Malbec sauce.
Judge Courtney Cochran says, “This is a casual pairing, not highfalutin, but very balanced and harmonious working together.”

People’s Choice (selected by the visitors):
Team: Ruby Hill Winery & Casa Real at Ruby Hill
Pairing: Ruby Hill 2008 Intesa Blend (58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Barbera) from Livermore Valley paired with braised goat with hints of cloves, coriander and vanilla on creamy goat cheese polenta with fresh cherry and micro-arugula garnish.

There were other great pairings at this event, showing the skills of the chefs and the winemakers.

Thomas Coyne Winery served their new 2010 GRUV (White Grenache, Roussanne, Ugi-blanc, Viognier) with a crab cake with Sri-Racha Sauce from  
 Star Anise Restaurant.  The great acidity of the wine cut through the fat of the food and brought out a lot of flavor in the wine.

Occasio Winery brought their 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and paired it with a lamb tenderloin with sweet potato prepared by Campo di Bocce.  This lamb combined with the sweet potato really brought out the flavors of the wine quite nicely.

Rodgrigue Molyneaux Winery provided their 2006 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and paired it with a San Joaquin Valley Muscovy duck pate infused with local pistachios, chives and dill on toasted crostini with estate olive oil and fig coulis from Castlewood Country Club.  The wine was great and the food delicious and together they made the wine pop in flavors.

Funds raised at this event benefit the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Santa Cruz Mountains bring home the Gold from 2011 California State Fair

The 2011 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition is the oldest and most prestigious wine competition in North America.  The competition is open to all California bonded wineries selling retail and each year thousands of California wines are entered, seeking a chance to win one of the many coveted awards from the State Fair’s panel of expert wine judges. 

This competition has been judging wines in California for over 150 years, recognizing the best wines in the state.  The judges are selected from a wide range of backgrounds, including wine educators, wine makers, wine journalists, retailers and wholesalers, wine collectors and restaurateurs. 

This year’s 2011 competition found many Santa Cruz Mountains winemakers bringing home awards including some that are Best of Class for the region.


  • 2006 La Vita Santa Cruz Mountains, Regan Vineyard – Double Gold – 98 points, plus Best of California and Best of Class for Greater Bay Area for Italian red wine
  • 2008 Merlot, Regan and Peter Vineyard – Silver – 88 points
  • 2008 Syrah, Nelson Vineyard – Bronze – 86 points
  • 2007 Cabernet Franc , Santa Cruz Mountains Francville Vineyard – Silver – 91 points plus Best of Class for Greater Bay area
  • 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains – Silver – 89 points
  • 2007 Syrah, Santa Cruz Mountains, Findley Vineyard – Bronze – 86 points
  • Non-Vintage Brut Sparkling, Santa Cruz Mountains – Silver – 89 points plus Best of Class for Greater Bay area
  • 2001 Cuvee Twenty-Seven Sparkling, Santa Cruz Mountains – Bronze – 87 points
  • Plus the Kathryn Kennedy 2010 Sauvignon Blanc from California brought home Silver
  • 2008 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, Kings Mountain Vineyard, - Double Gold – 98 points, plus Best of Microwinery for Red Wines
  • 2009 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains Saveria Vineyard – Bronze – 86 points
  • Plus the 2009 Pinotage from Lodi got a Gold medal and was Best of Class for Lodi Appellation
  • 2007 J.D. Hurley Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains – Silver – 88 points
  • 2007 Therese Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains – Silver – 88 points
  • Plus the J.D. Hurley 2008 Merlot from Santa Clara Valley won Double Gold and Best of Class for Greater Bay area and the 2007 Therese Vineyards Sangiovese from Santa Clara Valley took home a Bronze
Sonnet Wine Cellars
  • 2008 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains Muns Vineyard – Silver – 90 points
  • Plus the 2008 Pinot Noir from Tondre’s Grapefield in Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County got Double Gold and Best of Class for North-Central Coast region
  • 2007 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains Wildcat Ridge – Gold – 94 points, plus Best of Class for Greater Bay area
  • 2009 Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains – Silver – 90 points
  • 2008 Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains Christie Vineyard – Silver – 89 points
  • 2008 Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains – Bronze – 86 points
  • Plus they took home bronze awards for the 2009 Riesling and 2007 Red Wine from Monterey County
  • 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Villa Festa, Santa Cruz Mountains – Silver – 89 points
  • 2009 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, Regan Vineyards – Bronze – 86 points
  • 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains – Silver – 88 pints
  • 2009 Cancion del Mar White Blend California appellation got Gold medal and Best of Class California appellation and the 2008 Petite Sirah from Central Coast got a Silver
On July 29, the California State Fair hosts the “Taste & Celebrate the Best Wines” event, featuring these award winning wines and more from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Golden Stage.  This Special Event costs $25 above the cost of Fair Admission.
For more information:

Livermore Valley wineries bring home the awards from the California State Fair

The 2011 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition is the oldest and most prestigious wine competition in North America.  The competition is open to all California bonded wineries selling retail and each year thousands of California wines are entered, seeking a chance to win one of the many coveted awards from the State Fair’s panel of expert wine judges.

This competition has been judging wines in California for over 150 years, recognizing the best wines in the state.  The judges are selected from a wide range of backgrounds, including wine educators, wine makers, wine journalists, retailers and wholesalers, wine collectors and restaurateurs.

This year’s 2011 competition found many Livermore Valley winemakers bringing home awards including some that are Best of Class for the region.

Bent Creek Winery
  • 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley – Gold – 94 points
  • 2008 Cabernet Franc, Livermore Valley – Silver – 88 points
  • 2008 Petite Sirah, Livermore Valley – Bronze – 87 points
  • 2008 Zinfandel, Livermore Valley– Bronze – 87 points
  • Plus their 2007 Port from Amador County got a Silver medal
Concannon Vineyards
  • 2009 Chardonnay, Conservancy, Livermore Valley – Silver – 88 points
  • 2009 Chardonnay, Livermore Valley – Bronze – 87 points
  • 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley – Silver – 91 points
  • 2008 Merlot, Livermore Valley, Conservancy, Livermore Valley – Silver – 90 points
  • 2008 Merlot, Livermore Valley – Silver – 88 points
  • 2007 Petite Sirah, Livermore Valley – Silver – 88 points
  • 2008 Petite Sirah, Nina’s Cuvee, Livermore Valley – Bronze – 87 points
  • 2008 Petite Sirah, Livermore Valley – Bronze – 86 points
  • Plus several wines from outside Livermore Valley brought home awards including the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc from Monterey that got Gold medal and was Best of Class for North-Central Coast Appellations.
Crooked Vine Winery
  • 2008 Petite Verdot, Livermore Valley Del Arroyo Vineyard – Silver – 90 points plus Best of Class Greater Bay Appellation
  • 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley – Silver – 88 points
  • 2008 Petite Sirah, Livermore Valley – Bronze – 87 points
  • 2008 Moxie (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot), Livermore Valley – Bronze – 87 points
  • 2008 Syrah, Livermore Valley Del Arroyo Vineyard – Bronze – 87 points
  • 2009 Viognier, Livermore Valley Del Arroyo Vineyard – Bronze – 86 points
  • 2009 Chardonnay/Viognier, Livermore Valley – Bronze – 86 points
Darcie Kent Vineyards
  • 2009 Chardonnay, Livermore Valley De Mayo Vineyard – Gold – 94 points plus Best of Region Greater Bay Appellation and Best of Class
  • 2008 Merlot, Livermore Valley Crown Block – Silver – 90 points
  • 2008 Zinfandel, Livermore Valley De Mayo – Silver – 88 points
  • 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley Madden Ranch – Silver – 88 points
  • 2008 Merlot, Livermore Valley Picazo – Bronze – 86 points
  • 2008 Petite Sirah, Livermore Valley Madden Ranch – Bronze – 86 points
  • Plus Darcie Kent won a Gold for their 2009 Sauvignon Blanc from Monterey County, and Bronze for the 2009 Gruner Veltliner and 2009 Chardonnay from Monterey County
Eagle Ridge Vineyard
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  • 2010 Pinot Grigio, Livermore Valley – Silver – 90 points plus Best of Class Greater Bay Appellation
  • 2005 Port, Mad Lyn, Livermore Valley Carter Vineyard – Bronze – 86 points
Fenestra Winery
  • 2008 Malbec, Livermore Valley Ghielmetti Vineyard – Silver – 93 points plus Best of Class Greater Bay Appellation
  • 2006 Conjugation (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec), Livermore Valley – Silver – 93 points
  • 2007 Syrah, Estate Livermore Valley – Silver – 88 points
  • 2009 Semonnay (Chardonnay and Semillon), Livermore Valley – Silver – 88 points plus Best of Class Greater Bay Appellation
  • 2008 Zinfandel, Livermore Valley – Bronze – 878 points
  • 2008 Petite Sirah, Livermore Valley Ghielmetti Vineyard – Bronze – 87 points
  • 2010 Dry Rose, Livermore Valley – Bronze – 87 points
  • 2007 Merlot, Livermore Valley Thatcher Bay – Bronze – 87 points
  • Plus Fenestra took home a Bronze medal for their True Red table wine from California and 2010 Torrontes from Lodi
Las Positas Vineyards
  • 2008 Barbera, Livermore Valley – Gold – 94 points
  • 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley Casa de Vinas Covarrubias – Bronze – 87 points
Murrietta's Well
  • 2008 The Spur (Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc, Merlot), Livermore Valley - Gold - 94 points, plus Best of California for Bordeaux Red Varietal Blend, Best of Region Greater Bay Appellation Red
Occasio Winery
  • 2010 Angelica – Bronze – 87 points
Stony Ridge Winery
  • 2008 Petite Sirah, Livermore Valley Del Arroyo – Silver – 90 points
  • 2008 Trifecta (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah), Livermore Valley – Bronze – 87 points
  • 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley – Bronze – 87 points
  • 2009 Chardonnay, Livermore Valley Del Arroyo – Bronze – 86 points
  • 2008 Syrah, Livermore Valley – Bronze – 86 points
Tamas Estates
  • Awarded Silver medals for their Central Coast wines
  • 2009 Pinot Grigio (plus Best of Class North-Central Coast Appellation
  • 2008 Double Decker Red (Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Barbera).
Wente Vineyards
  • Awarded several medals for their wines made with fruit sourced outside of Livermore Valley
  • 2009 Chardonnay Riva Ranch, Arroyo Seco – Gold – 95 points
  • 2008 Pinot Noir, Arroyo Seco, Monterey – Silver – 90 points
  • 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Louis Mel, San Francisco Bay – Silver – 89 points plus Best of Class Greater Bay Appellation
  • 2008 Merlot, Sandstone, San Francisco Bay – Bronze – 86 points
On July 29, the California State Fair hosts the “Taste & Celebrate the Best Wines” event, featuring these award winning wines and more from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Golden Stage.  This Special Event costs $25 above the cost of Fair Admission.
For more information:

Livermore Valley Wine Tasting Special aboard the Niles Canyon Railway in August

The Niles Canyon Railway 2011 Livermore Valley Wine tasting Special gets rolling this year for four Saturdays this year August 6, 13, 20, and 27. This exciting wine tasting event will focus specifically on Livermore Valley wines. As one of the Golden State's oldest wine regions, Livermore Valley played a pivotal role in shaping California's wine industry.

Spanish missionaries planted the first wine grapes in the Livermore Valley in the 1760s. In the 1840s, California pioneers looking for outstanding vineyard sites began planting grapes in the region. Robert Livermore planted the first commercial vines in the 1840s. Pioneer winemakers C. H. Wente, James Concannon, and Charles Wetmore recognized the area's winegrowing potential and founded their wineries in the early 1880s.

On the Wine tasting Special you will learn more about the Livermore Valley wine region and the history and style of many great wineries of Livermore Valley. At the same time you will also learn about the history of the rail line traveling along the original route of the transcontinental railway where trains first rolled through Niles Canyon in 1866.

Wine Educator Steve Ferree will walk you through tasting a flight of five Livermore wines. Each wine will be paired with cheese or chocolate selected especially for that wine. Each weekend will showcase a different flight of wines and different Livermore Valley winemakers. Thus over the four Sundays, 20 Livermore Valley wines will be served. The actual wines for each train will be announced later. You will enjoy an afternoon of fine wine while gently cruising through Niles Canyon, riding on history.

The Wine Tasting Special departs the Niles depot of the Niles Canyon Railway promptly at 3:30 p.m. each of the four Sundays. The price is $37.50 per person and you must be 21 to ride the train. Non-alcoholic beverages will be served for those not wishing to join in the wine tasting. You can make reservations at www.ncry.org and information is available at 510-910-7024. Proceeds support the Niles Canyon Railway preservation activities. 

For more info: 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Livermore Valley Taste of Terroir July 21

Join Livermore Valley Winemakers and Bay Area Chefs at "Taste of Terroir" for a delectable evening of wine and food pairings showcasing the Valley's bountiful "Terroir" (French word for soil and is pronounced "ter-wah") on Thursday, July 21 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Each winemaker and chef team has worked hard to create innovate wine and food pairings for guests to enjoy. Guests can cast their vote for People's Choice Award as they taste all of the creative pairings. In a blind tasting, our Culinary and Media Judges for the evening will present awards for Most Innovative Pairing, Judges' Best, and Best Classic Pairing. Guests can also enjoy live music on the patio and bid on silent auction lots. 

The Culinary and Media Judges for the event are:
  • Laura Ness– Wine writer Independent Magazine
  • Courtney Cochran– Certified Sommelier, author and wine consultant from “Your Personal Sommelier” in San Francisco
  • Sara Schneider– Wine Editor for Sunset Magazine.
The following Livermore Valley wineries who are participating this year will showcase the best this unique wine region has to offer, paired with several local area restaurants. This is sure to be the best food and wine pairing event of the season.

2011 Participating Wineries:
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2011 Participating Restaurants:
The Taste of Terroir will take place at the Palm Event Center at 1184 Vineyard Avenue, Pleasanton, CA. Tickets are on sale now at the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association website.
For more info: 

Petite Sirah on the Rails celebrating 50 years of Petite Sirah in Livermore Valley

Livermore Valley is one of the most historic wine regions in the state and was the birthplace fifty years ago of the popular varietal, Petite Sirah. Livermore Valley wine history will blend with Niles Canyon Railway history to celebrate “Petite Sirah on the Rails” on Saturday, July 30, 2011. The two-hour train ride leaves Niles at 3:30pm sharp; tickets are $45/person (21 and over, please).

Niles Canyon Railway began before the transcontinental railroad. By 1869, with the completion of the transcontinental railway, the route through Niles Canyon linked San Francisco Bay to the rest of the country. On July 30, guests will board a restored vintage train and sample five special Petite Sirahs from some of the best winemakers in the Valley including Concannon Vineyard, Nottingham Cellars, McGrail Vineyards, Charles R Vineyards and Bent Creek Winery. Each wine will be paired with a delicious hors d’oeuvre or cheese as wine educator Steve Ferree shares the history of Livermore Valley wines, especially Petite Sirah. Fourth generation vintner John Concannon, Concannon Vineyard, Collin Cranor of Nottingham Cellars, and Mark Clarin of McGrail Vineyards will give further insight into the popularity of Petite Sirah in today’s wine landscape.

July 30-31 will be “Petite Sirah weekend” throughout Livermore Valley.  Following the “Petite Sirah on the Rails” train excursion on Saturday, the public is invited to “A Celebration of Livermore’s Shining Star: Petite Sirah!” buffet dinner at McGrail Vineyards (separate ticket). More local winemakers will be joining us at McGrail to show off the many Petite Sirahs and other wines available in Livermore Valley. In addition, several Livermore Valley wineries will feature specials on their Petite Sirah that weekend.

Tickets for the “Petite Sirah on the Rails” are available at LocalWineEvents.com. For information about “An Celebration of Livermore’s Shining Star: Petite Sirah,” go to www.mcgrailvineyards.com/events.html.
For more information:

Nottingham Cellars - award-winning wines in Livermore

While they are relative new to Livermore Valley, Nottingham Cellars has made the wine industry sit up and take notice.  This year Nottingham Cellars entered six wines in the 2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and took home awards for each wine, 6 for 6.   This was followed up with 8 awards for 8 wines at the 2011 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, 4 for 4 at the San Francisco International Wine Competition and 7 awards for 9 wines at the Best of the Bay awards!  Winemaker Collin Cranor, at 25 years of age has 26 wine awards!


As an “urban” winery, you will not see large vineyards surrounding an expansive tasting room at Nottingham Cellars.  Instead the winemaker concentrates on producing wine from grapes from grower partners in the valley.  Collin selects the grapes that most closely resemble his style from a selection of the best sites around Livermore Valley.  Currently Collin is sourcing grapes from fourteen vineyards in the area.  Collin states, “I am out looking for the best fruit sources, using the best barrels and spending countless hours doing my due diligence to create wines that you will enjoy.  The fact that these wines have been so well received and scored well by judges and critics alike is simply a by-product for the countless hours in the cellar and vineyards.”


The Nottingham Cellars 2009 Viognier is the first Viognier from this winery.  On the nose you detect the tropical fruit and floral characteristics distinctive with this varietal.  On the palate you will enjoy the flavors of peach, pear and even a touch of mango.  The price is $18.


Nottingham makes two award-winning Chardonnays.  The 2009 Chardonnay from Livermore Valley is a none-oaked Chardonnay, fermented and aged in stainless steel.  It has a brisk acidity and great minerality, delivering flavors of apple and pear.  This is a great summer wine for only $18.


The 2009 Reserve Chardonnay comes from the same vineyards in Livermore, but has been ages on oak.  This gives it a very balanced body with a warmness of butter and toast plus vanilla, apple, pear and figs.  This is a fully bodied Chardonnay that will pair well with foods.  The price is $24.


The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from Livermore Valley has won several awards and depicts the high quality you expect from a Livermore Valley Cab.  It has aromas and flavors of dark fruit, including black cherry, blackberry and black raspberry and touch of coffee and cocoa.  It has a good hint of a variety of spices including clove and cinnamon.  The finish is long and tasty.  The price is $27


The Nottingham Cellars 2009 Petite Sirah shows you why Petite Sirah is the Livermore Valley grape.  The fruit is from the high quality Casa De Vinas vineyard in Livermore.  It starts with a dark inky color followed with the aromas and flavors of dark fruit, black cherry, chocolate, and rich ripe tannins.  The flavors continue on forever.  The price is $28.


This year Collin started the Wine Education Series (WET), held on the second Saturday of every month.  These are 25 minute discussions with the winemaker covering such subjects as pairing, varietal history, specific varietals and more.  The WET is free to club members and only $10 for non-members.  It is a great opportunity to learn directly from the winemaker.


The tasting room, located at 2245C South Vasco Road across from Lawrence Livermore Labs, is in an industrial office park where you will spy their flags out front as you drive along Vasco.  They are open Friday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Stop by to taste this bit of Livermore.  Parking is easy so stop by for some award-winning wines.


For more information:

Poetic Cellars - poetry in the bottle


Poetic Cellars is one of the newest wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains, opening on Valentine’s Day in 2008.  Winemaker Katy Lovell moved to her idyllic place in the mountains to pursue her love of wine, creating hand-crafted wines in small lot quantities using grapes from selected vineyards in California.  Her creativity does not just reside inside the bottle, she also designed her own labels, plus she is an accomplished flutist and fabric artist.  Her partner, Joseph Naegele shares her passion for wine and poetry and writes each poem found on the back label.

Many of her grapes are hand harvested in the vineyards she owns in Livermore Valley where she has been producing wine for over 20 years.  She also sources fruit from Santa Cruz Mountains and Mendocino County.

Katy stopped by local wine shop and wine bar, UNWINED, in San Jose to provide a tasting of several of her current releases.

The 2008 Poetic Cellars Chardonnay is from the Chestnut Hill Vineyard in Santa Cruz Mountains.   It has a touch of oak on the palate, but a great minerality with apricot, pears and apple and an overlay of pineapple.  This is a great summer wine with good minerality and a pleasant long finish.   The price is $24.

Poetic Cellars 2007 Mourvedre from Livermore Valley’s Muse Vineyards is Katy’s signature wine and delivers a great view of this robust grape.  It has a nice earthy, brambly, gamey quality that is indicative of a good Mourvedre.  On the nose you will detect a touch of oak, dark fruit and spice.  On the palate you will enjoy the flavors of dark cherry, black raspberry, chives, spice and even a bit of tomato.  According to Katy, Mourvedre naturally has a smoky flavor that shows up in this wine.  The price is $28.

The 2007 Mantra is a blend of 45% Mourvedre, 45% Syrah and 10% Sangiovese.  It is fantastic from the beginning to the end with an intense aroma leading to an incredible burst of fruit on the first taste and continuing to deliver all the way through the tasting experience.  You will love the bright red fruits with a genuine mixture of spices.  The finish continues on forever.   The price is $34.

Poetic Cellars 2007 Reserve Syrah is from the Stanza Vineyard in Livermore Valley.  It has an intense nose with aromas of baked plum, meat, smoke and dark fruit.  As you taste this wine you will love the dark fruit, including black raspberry with pepper, clove and cinnamon.  The price is $28.

The 2007 “Serenade” is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon.  You will thoroughly enjoy the 
aromas and flavors of dark cherry, plum and spice starting from the intense nose and leading to a long warm finish.   

For further information: