The day after Thanksgiving, known everywhere as Black Friday, is a shopping extravaganza without compare. Instead of fighting the crowds, we pursued a far more pleasant goal: visiting Dante Robere Vineyards to sample their latest wines.
We drove to Dante Robere Vineyards by back roads, scrupulously avoiding the highways. The local outlet mall has earned a reputation for effectively closing the Interstate in both directions. We were not going to fall into that trap! The day had some rain but the parking lot was open and we found the spirits in the tasting room undampened. Everyone was tasting the latest releases and obviously having a great time!
Co-owner Dan Rosenberg was running the tasting room, and he quickly welcomed us and set us up along the spacious granite tasting bar. The bar’s rectangular shape allows a few wine guides to easily keep throngs of wine tasters happy and engaged. The four of us implemented our typical “divide and conquer” approach to the expansive tasting list. We followed Dan’s recommendations and shared tastes to be sure that we could enjoy their dual tasting flights without any issues.
We started our flight with the new releases. The 2016 Grenache kicked off the tasting, with lovely cherry and dark plum fruit with smoke and spice on the finish. Their 2016 Carignane was a treat! Tasting faintly like a Cabernet Franc, this wine showed library aromas and and notes of earth, blackberry, and white pepper. Made from Contra Costa County fruit, this has become one of our favorite varietals, and the Dante Robere interpretation of this challenging grape is remarkable.
The third new release was a 2016 Barbera. Several tasters pronounced this wine, “yummy,” which is one of our more technical tasting terms. We loved the flavors of cola and plum, with an almost Merlot-like finish with a bit of pepper. We also tasted their 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, made from the fruit of three Livermore vineyards. Dan said that this Cab spent thirty months on French oak, and we thought that we could sense that influence as black pepper on the finish. We tasted pitted fruit, blackberries, and bay leaves. Their Paradiso (a blend of Tempranillo, Carignane, and Touriga) was also a hit with the four of us. Their 2016 Estate Syrah was a newcomer with real promise, showing a beautiful silky, honey-like mouth feel and deep plum and cocoa flavors. The 2015 Petite Sirah earned smiles, with creamy vanilla and marshmallow notes.
As the rain broke, we purchased an arm-load of wine (as usual), thanked Dan for a fun tasting, and set off, happy that we had spent Black Friday so productively!
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?