Go East Young (Or Not So Young) Wine Lover

Go East Young (Or Not So Young) Wine Lover

If you take a peek at the Livermore Valley Winery map, you’ll find the east most winery is Les Chenes Winery. Contrary to its directional position in Livermore Wine Country, Les Chenes is all southern…southern France that is. Les Chenes boasts a specialization in Estate Rhone Wines and it is a boast that is well earned! As a lover (and I do mean LOVER) of Rhone varietals, I was very excited to visit this east most winery.

Good people of wine-based social media…I don’t often gush. With your kind indulgence, the following is full “gush-dom” for Les Chenes…
Go East Young (Or Not So Young) Wine Lover

Upon entering the tasting room, I was greeted by a hearty somewhat baritone voice, “Welcome to Les Chenes!” Immediately, I felt welcomed.

The tasting room was warm and inviting. Now, I’ve been in many tasting rooms. I am fairly adept at recognizing architecture and layouts that are designed to evoke certain feelings and impressions. Les Chenes’ tasting room was like being at a party where everyone congregates in the kitchen with a glass of wine and piece of cheese. However, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Les Chenes is owned and operated by Richard and Candice Dixon, two of the friendliest and open people I’ve had the honor of engaging. Being second generation wine growers/makers, Richard and Candice convey a depth of wine knowledge in an approachable, conversational style that invites one into a dancing dialogue of wine, wine history and wine culture.
Go East Young (Or Not So Young) Wine Lover
As I mentioned, Les Chenes specializes in Estate Rhone Wines, so I was a bit impatient to taste the syrah. I refer to myself as a bit impatient because, like many of us “reddies,” I sometimes view whites as a formality or appetizer. Once again, the wine tasting gods had a different scheme in mind.

While the reds at Les Chenes certainly lived up to my expectations (be sure NOT to miss the Gargouille red blend), I was put to shame by the Les Chenes whites! The Les Chenes whites were delicious because they
were true to the heritage of the grape. Don’t worry. I’m not going to go on technical tangent on the taste profile of Rhone whites. However, I do want to draw attention to Richard’s blend of chardonnay and viognier appropriately named Deux Blanc. Richard tells the story of his father’s friend, who blended chardonnay and viognier in traditional French style for family meals. Duex Blanc has yummy peach notes with a bit of a fleshy texture. Les Chenes’ Deux Blanc wonderfully honors Richard’s family history. I won’t be so hasty to skip or rush through whites…lesson learned.

Now…back to the kitchen. Not only does Les Chenes have a fabulous team in the tasting room AND fabulous wine to taste, it also has some of the best cheeses I’ve sampled! While Les Chenes wines tend to be Richard’s bailiwick, the cheeses are all Candice! Candice pairs each wine with a cheese and it is phenomenal (I warned about my “gush-dom”). Candice sources her cheeses from the Finger Lakes area in New York. The Finger Lakes area is New York’s largest wine producing region. It also boasts award winning, mouthwatering cheeses. With cheeses such as, Champagne Cheddar, Strawberry Chardonnay Cheddar, Smoked Gouda with Bacon and Jalapeno/Peppadew Cheddar, it is difficult NOT to salivate! AND, I hear there’s a rumor that Candice will be unveiling Grilled Bacon Cheeseburger soon! Are you kidding me?
Go East Young (Or Not So Young) Wine Lover

You might be thinking, “Ok, Michael, I get it. Les Chenes is a full sensory experience” and you’d be right, but I’m not done yet.  You have Richard’s wine knowledge and sea stories…nice. You have fantastic Rhone varietals…excellent. You have Candice’s smile that lights up the room…awesome! You have award winning cheeses…wonderful! Finally, to round out your tasting experience, Candice also makes her own mustards. Like I said, people at a party gathered in the kitchen with a glass of wine, cheese, a little mustard on a pretzel, and lots and lots of laughing!

Don’t get me wrong, the Les Chenes wines are definitely the star of the show. Richard and Candice do a magnificent job surrounding great wine with great pairings, great atmosphere and great people!

A la votre
(Cheers, to your health)!

 

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