On a beautiful summer day, wine tasting can best be enjoyed in the great outdoors. Luckily, there are a lot of wineries offering tastings al fresco. We were able to combine a beautiful afternoon with some beautiful wines when we recently visited Page Mill Winery.
We drove down the long driveway to discover that there was a lovely parking spot right by the winery. This early good luck continued for the entire visit! We were warmly greeted as we entered and invited to sit at the table of our choice. We pounced on a table ideally situated to give us a view of the grape vines, the rolling hills, and of course, other happy wine tasters. People watching never gets old!
The covered patio and adjacent tent was buzzing with happy people. People were tasting the new releases, sipping their way through a purchased bottle, or even taking a break by playing a spirited game of giant Jenga. Quite a lot of winery fun on a warm afternoon. The vibe in the place had us smiling before we had tasted our first wine.
We started our tasting with their Sparkling. This was very recently bottled, and had a bit of yeast on the nose and tongue as a result. Within a short time, this should dissipate. The lovely dry bubbles danced across our palates, making our smiles even wider. Next up was a white blend called Vines Intertwined. This unique wine is a cooperative venture of three Livermore Valley wineries, composed of 75% Pinot Blanc from Page Mill, 12.5% Viognier from 3 Steves and 12.5% Chardonnay from Wood Family.
Their 2016 VS (for Vintner Select) Chardonnay was next, showing restrained butter notes and a nice layering of fruit. We then moved to reds, starting with their 2015 Pinot Noir. This wine is worth purchasing just for the aroma! Add in the tobacco and leather notes and lovely, lingering finish and this is a wine that will sell out in no time!
Their 2014 Livermore Zinfandel made a good impression on us, with caramel and black tea on the nose and cherry and blackberry flavors. Some of us even tasted hints of bourbon! This Zin will develop well in the coming years. We compared it with their 2013 VS Lodi Zinfandel. Amazing color, aromas and complexity! It was only disappointing when the glass was empty. That’s a good problem!
We enjoyed the pepper and smooth, dark fruit notes in the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon and the fantastic plum and dark cherry notes in their amazing 2015 GPS. This was designated “taste of the day” by our table. That distinction was short-lived, however, because their 2014 Petite Syrah swept it away, with a killer combination of great aromas, balanced fruit and moderate tannins. We planned on laying this one down for a few years and saving it for a special event.
Tasting complete, we picked up our club release pack, and said our goodbyes. What a great way to spend a sunny afternoon!
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?