Springtime comes early to the Livermore Valley. Around Valentine’s Day the vines wake up and send their first tentative new shoots out into the sunlight. On just such a sunny day, we visited a Livermore landmark: Page Mill Winery.
Our excuse for visiting Page Mill was that our son Rob had a club pickup waiting for him. As we drove down the long, gravel driveway, it was clear that other people had come up with their own excuse to attend. We easily found a parking spot convenient to the tasting room and walked toward it. As we approached, we discovered one reason for all the happy tasters: it was a Bottle Your Own weekend!
We went inside the tasting room to find it bustling with happy tasters, so we went out to the larger tented tasting area. We chose one of the open tables with chairs and got ourselves ready for a tasting. Since Rob is a club member, we had members’ privileges, making both tasting flights were available to us. We started with their 2018 Chardonnay, called a hybrid because it was blended from Chardonnay aged in both stainless steel tanks and oak barrels. We appreciated the gentle creaminess and hints of red delicious apples.
We then tasted the 2018 Vintner’s Select Chardonnay from the members’ flight. We convinced ourselves that we could taste the crisp influence of its treatment exclusively in stainless steel. Lovely nuttiness and cream on the palate. Next up was their BYO Blend, based on Zinfandel, with splashes of other varietals for balance. Smooth and full of plum notes, with a long, gentle finish, it was obvious why the BYO event was drawing so many fans.
The tent, and the umbrella tables just outside, painted a lovely picture of the joys of winetasting in Livermore. Many of the groups had brought alone food to pair with the wine, some tables having complete meals (to the envy of many). The gentle breezes brought in all the excitement and promise of spring. Such a wonderful environment for enjoying lovely wine!
We tasted some favorites, including their 2017 Syrah, made from grapes grown right next to the driveway. We loved the tart fruit and crisp finish that made this perfect for pairing with soft cheeses. Their 2017 GPS was another hit, with more than us since it won a Double Gold at the SF Wine Competition. A lovely, balanced red for when you just want something wonderful to sip. Eventually, though, it was time to stop zigzagging through the two tasting flights and get to the BYO portion of the afternoon. Rob chose half a case of this amazing blend, so we plan to drop by his place frequently.
With two cases of wine in hand, we set off toward one more tasting. Check back to read about that experience. Thanks Page Mill!
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?