With so many wonderful wineries in Livermore, it is a worthy challenge to check with even half of them on an annual basis. Only through rigorous planning and focus (yeah, right) that we are able to keep up with even a fraction of the new things happening with Livermore wine. We discovered that we were overdue visiting a perennial favorite: Nottingham Cellars!
After enjoying tastings at Embodied Wines and McKahn Family Cellars, we walked a few yards down the sidewalk to Nottingham Cellars, one of the original tasting rooms in what has become a solid block of tasting rooms. With outdoor tables, indoor tables, and several long tasting bars, there’s a style of tasting for every occasion.
We settled around an outdoor table and sent scouts into the tasting room to shuttle tastes back and forth. There are two tasting flights: a Nottingham flight and a Vasco Urbano flight. The Nottingham label focuses on Bordeaux style wines while the Vasco Urbano label focuses on micro-lot wines from Livermore vineyards. We met wine guide Rebecca and selected a Nottingham flight for this tasting. Our friends took on the Vasco Ubano flight to maintain balance to the force.
Rebecca started us with their 2017 Sauvignon Blanc. We tasted tropical fruits and figs and honeysuckle, all taking turns on our palate. Their 2017 Rosé of Merlot was next, made with a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Not as dry as many modern Rosés, this wine showed notes of cherry, peach, and apricot. Our next taste was a bit hit: the 2014 “The Hill” blend. Made from 85% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petit Verdot, we loved the dark cherry, plum and tobacco notes. A few years in the cellar will bring out the full potential of this fabulous wine!
We next tasted their 2016 Mixed Blacks. This blend of 35% Petite Sirah, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 15% Malbec had a black cherry nose and a cascade of fruit leading to a mildly tannic finish. A few years in the cellar will soften this wine to a fine luster. A 2014 Micro-Lot Reserve Petit Verdot was next, showing mild aromas and flavors of hot plums and boysenberries. Our next taste won a lot of fans: their 2015 Vineyard Designate Cabernet Sauvignon. With captivating fruit aromas and amazing, nuanced spicey cherry flavors, this wine demanded to join our Take Home list.
With thanks to Rebecca and an armload of wine, we happily traipsed back to our car, now laden with wine from three wineries. What a great day of tasting, without moving the car once!
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?