A sunny afternoon in Livermore. What is there to do? Why, drop by the Wood Family Vineyards tasting room, of course!
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Livermore and we were ready to taste some wine. We were interested in catching up with the new releases at Wood Family Vineyards, so we set off to their new(ish) tasting room with great anticipation. Our previous visit to the tasting room had been wonderful and we were excited to see how the property had matured!
We arrived to find a tasting room full of happy people, most of whom were clustered around the spacious bar area. We were more interested in a seated tasting experience, so we sought out one of the many open wine-barrel tables and made ourselves comfortable. There were plenty of stools around to let our party-of-five grouping share a tasting.
We met wine guide Kathy and settled in for another fun tasting. Like everyone associated with Wood Family, Kathy was engaging, knowledgeable and focused on delivering an amazing tasting experience. We did notice that she did not have a pun on the word “wood” on her name tag. Our group came up with a few mildly clever takeoffs on the combination of Kathy and Wood, but nothing that is worth repeating.
We started with their 2016 Chardonnay. Aged in French oak, we appreciated the soft, buttery notes that danced across our tongues. Our next taste was a favorite with our entire table: their 2015 Merlot. This lovely Merlot was made from Wood Family Estate grapes and gave us a lot to like: a dusty nose and a “very cherry” start on the palate, finishing with anise and tobacco. This led off our Take Home list!
Their 2015 “El Loco Rojo” was next. Bright fruit aromas led us to dark plum and vegetal flavors with a tannic finish. We would cellar this for a few years to get the most out of it. We then tasted their two Cabs: the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon “Especial” and the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon “Viva.” The Viva showed a classic Cab nose, with flavors of plum, cigar, and white pepper. The Especial was smooth on smooth, with a more restrained aroma, balanced layers of fruit, and clean finish. Our table was divided on which Cab was the favorite. We wrapped up our tasting flight with their 2015 Petite Sirah. Another favorite, we loved the berry festival aromas and the slate notes behind the fruit on the palate. The finish had enough acid and tannin to stand up to hearty foods. Another year or two and this wine will be unstoppable.
We purchased our arm-full of wine, thanked Kathy for another great time, and set off. We had time for one more tasting before the sun set!
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?