Valentine’s Day means showing your special someone how much you care. For some, that means flowers, or candy, or maybe a cute stuffed animal. Recently for us, Valentine’s Day means a funny card, a nice homemade dinner, and the highlight of the day: a wine club release party at Darcie Kent Vineyards.
Valentine’s Day morning arrived a bit overcast and gloomy. To our delight, though, the haze burned off to reveal a beautiful, 70-degree day. Perfect for an outdoor wine party! We picked up our good friends Laura and Bill and hustled over to Darcie Kent. Our previous experience with their parties taught us that the crowd built throughout the afternoon, so we hoped to beat the rush. We arrived to find that quite the opposite was true. The place was really jumping already!
We checked in and accepted our wine glasses, complete with a splash of their 2014 Sauvignon Blanc. This was a crisp and refreshing way to get our palates dialed in for an afternoon of wine and food.
As we worked our way around to the side patio, we discovered that a highlight from last year’s Valentine’s Day party was back: Kerry Borgen and Gretchen Egen of Musical Heart Strings playing current-day (and, yes, some classic) rock and pop tunes on violin and cello. That may seem like an odd approach, but we loved them last year and they were in fine form again!
We found an empty table near the music and settled in for some tasting. Bill and I set off for the food and wine tent (I need one of these!) to refill all four of our glasses. When we entered the tent, we discovered another highlight from past events: catering provided by Dylan Arriaza, chef and owner of VinX. The first table featured the Sauv Blanc from the check-in table, paired with a lovely gazpacho shooter. We enjoyed the Sauv Blanc when we arrived, but pairing it with the cold cucumber and jalapeno soup took it to a whole new level.
Our next taste was a family favorite, their 2013 Firepit Red, paired with a grilled zucchini and pepper skewer. We loved the 2012 vintage and the 2013 showed us some real promise. This wine is a blend of Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah. There may be bits of kitchen sink in there somewhere, too, but the end result was delicious.
We moved on to their 2013 Tesla Neighbors Zinfandel paired with a Zinfandel-infused glazed meatball slider. The Zin was bright and fruit forward with just a hint of pepper, but honestly the slider stole the spotlight. This slider was the food highlight of the day! Well done, Chef Dylan!
Next up was their 2013 Tesla Neighbors Merlot paired with a chicken and mushroom empanada. We enjoyed the cherry notes of the Merlot against the flaky crust and creamy chicken yumminess (that’s a word, or should be) of the empanada.
We moved into the barrel barn to sample some wines being offered at amazing savings. We liked the wine, but we enjoyed looking at some of Darcie’s paintings even more. We have one of her works hanging in our living room, there’s another one in Rob and Sarah’s house, so we qualify as some of her biggest fans. The pieces displayed in the barn were pretty amazing, but we are pretty much out of wall space.
At last, we had tasted every wine, sampled every food pairing, and said hello to our favorite Darcie Kent staffers. All that was left was picking up our club release: the ’13 Tesla Neighbors Merlot, the ’13 Tesla Neighbors Zin and the ’13 Firepit Red. Once again, Darcie Kent Vineyards made Valentine’s Day even more special. We hope that you and your special someone had as much fun celebrating the day as we did.
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Winery address: 7000 Tesla Rd, Livermore, CA 94550