Sometimes familiarity breeds neglect. Never was that as evident as our coverage, or lack, of our visits to Eckert Estate Winery. We love everything about Eckert Estates: the wine, the vibe, the people. That means that we visit quite a bit, but have somehow forgotten to write about their new wines for far too long!
We arrived at the winery on a spring afternoon bathed in sunshine and gentle breezes. We easily found a place to park (most of the other tenants are closed on the weekends, leaving plenty of space for us) and made our way into the tasting room. Wine guide Emily greeted us and asked if we were tasting wine or spirits. Eckert also offers distilled spirits under the Artisan Spirits label so that choice is required right up front. Although we love their spirits, especially the neutral brandy, we were excited to taste their newer wines, so that was an easy decision.
We started with their 2014 Sauvignon Blanc. Tart and fresh, with nice peach and lime notes, we couldn’t wait for the arrival of summer to better appreciate this lovely wine. Their 2015 Riesling was not your traditional sugar bomb. Although it had a traditional aroma, it danced over the tongue with only a ghost of sweetness riding on balanced fruit. A very happy surprise.
Next up was a perennial favorite: their Ensemble, a blend of Cabernet, Carignane, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Syrah. This 2011 vintage showed the sweet-tart black cherry flavors and lingering finish that we love. Their 2010 Carignane was our first, and still most favorite, Carignane. With lots of fruit focused on the mid-palate, this is a wine that can pair with any food. We go through quite a bit of it during peak BBQ season, so we put this on our “take home” list to restock.
Their Rhone blend, called Melange du Rhone, combined Grenache, Carignane, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Syrah. We loved the great layers of fruit in fine balance, ending in a dry finish. Another slam dunk pairing with a BBQ! Their 2013 Petite Sirah started big, with lots of fruit jostling for attention, leading to a mildly tannic finish. A wonderful example of Livermore’s approach to Petite Sirah. Our final taste was their 2010 Boa Quinta. This classic tawny Port-style dessert wine made its way over to our “take home” list, too.
With one more winery on our schedule, we purchased our wine, thanked Emily and Mike, and set off toward our next tasting.
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?