The year is full of milestone events: New Year’s Eve, Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the Livermore Valley, there is an additional annual event that signals that the summer wine season is in full swing. Called Taste Our Terroir, area winemakers and chefs come together to celebrate everything that makes the Livermore Valley special. We can’t wait!
This year the festivities kick off on Thursday, July 21 with a food and wine pairing event. Casa Real will host 18 local winemaker/chef teams who will compete for both judged and “people’s choice” honors. Called the “quest for food and wine pairing excellence”, this very popular event sells out every year. Anyone hoping to attend is advised to order tickets well in advance.
The events continue on Friday. First up is a “Lunch and Learn” event at John Evans Cellars / Big White House. From noon to 2:00pm, attendees will learn how to make Summer Risotto, taught by Linda Carucci, the author of Cooking School Secrets for Real World Cooks. Of course, there will also be a guided wine pairing from the host winery! Friday is already going strong!
At 4:00 the fun moves to Whole Foods Market in Dublin, with a game show themed event. Four wineries and four chefs will be randomly paired and challenged to create their best small plate and wine pairing. Truly a competition with no losers.
The celebration then moves to Fenestra Winery at 6:30 for the start of a progressive dinner. After hors d’oeuvres and a salad at Fenestra, the feast moves to Garre Vineyards for dinner on the patio. The dinner wraps up with dessert and Port, watching the sunset from Eagle Ridge Vineyard. What an amazing night!
Saturday kicks off with a vineyard tour at Wente Winery. After Karl Wente takes you through his vineyard, describing the local terroir and how it affects the wine, you will enjoy a locally-sourced lunch. At 1:30, Steven Kent Winery next hosts a triple treat: three wineries’ approach to the same Sauvignon Blanc grapes from the Ghielmetti Vineyards. Taste how Steven Kent, 3 Steves, and Cedar Mountain winemakers each have transformed this varietal into a distinctive wine.
Nottingham Cellars is the place to be at 4:00, where Concannon Vineyard, Nottingham Cellars, McGrail Vineyard, and The Steven Kent Winery each present their Cabernet Sauvignons. Then the festivities move to McGrail Family Vineyards at 6:30 for a wine country lobster feed. Five different Livermore wines will complement the lobster, prawns, sausage, and corn on the cob. Food, wine and live music under the stars!
Sunday starts with a 10:00 brunch at Retzlaff Winery made by Chef Eduardo Posada of Posada Restaurant. Retzlaff will pair six of their wines with the lovely Posada food. The Charles R winery then hosts a guided vertical tasting at 12:30. For that extra something, the tasting will include a chocolate pairing! The day wraps up at 3:00 at Cedar Mountain Winery, with an educational Port tasting. Livermore icon Earl Ault will describe the history and nuances of Port making.
What an amazing weekend of sampling the best of Livermore wines! What events will you choose?
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?