With Livermore home to so many great wineries, it is easy to fall into a rut, visiting the same few wineries over and over. Recently we decided to revisit some of the wineries that we have not visited for a year or more. To our surprise, this list included the beautiful Rios-Lovell Estate Winery.
We arrived at Rios-Lovell full of enthusiasm, ready to rediscover a Livermore landmark. We entered the expansive parking lot to find that the Livermore Wine Trolley had already arrived. Seeing the trolley let us know that a party would be already in full swing when we entered the tasting room. We could see some trolley riders enjoying their trolley lunches at the umbrella-covered patio tables, as others strolled the wedding-ready grounds.
As expected, the tasting room was buzzing when we entered. Since our last visit, more of the walls had received the Trompe-l’œil treatment, with something to capture the eye in every direction. Just a little squinting and one is transported to a small Portuguese town. Quite a nice trip from the outskirts of Livermore!
We settled in at a table (yes, seated tastings ARE the best!) and met wine guide John, so got us started with their NV Sparkling. A bit for our tastes, but clearly popular with many of the guests. We jumped to the red wine side of the tasting flight, starting with their 2014 Estate Cabernet Franc. A nicely structured wine, with swirling notes of tobacco, smoke, nutmeg, and cardamom, with a dusty finish, we would lay this down for a few years to bring out the best.
As John was pouring a 2014 Estate Merlot he mentioned that the new owners were investing in the winery by purchasing 25 new French oak barrels every year. A young wine with a silky mouth feel, we could really taste the influence of new oak barrels. We thought that this would be a great wine to pair with spicy Italian food.
We next tasted their 2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. We found this wine to be very drinkable now, with classic Bing cherry notes and gentle tannins on the finish. Our final taste was their 2014 Petite Sirah. We found this to be an earthy wine, with jam and black pepper notes leading to a finish of acid and alcohol. A few years on the wine rack will let good things happen.
We had a few more wineries on our tour list, so we thanked John for such a fun time and set off toward our next experience!
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?