As spring returned to Livermore, along with an improved Covid rules, we were thrilled to return to our favorite pastime: winetasting! With great excitement, we returned to Dante Robere Vineyards.
After a wonderful inaugural tasting at Las Positas Vineyards, we drove just a bit down the street to Dante Robere Vineyards. We were able to find a nice, shady parking spot and made our way to the winery’s front door to check in. With our brief experience with the new normal of Covid safety protocols, we knew that just wandering around the place would not be acceptable. As expected, there was a check-in station by the front door, where a friendly employee welcomed us. Given that everyone was wearing a mask, we were all strangers to each other. When asked if we had been to Dante Robere before, I presented a Wine Tasting Bliss business card as I mentioned that we were long-time friends with the owners/winemakers Dan and Bob. The staffer looked at the card and asked, “Oh, do you work with John?” So I stepped back, removed my mask for a moment, and said, “Well, I am John.” The staffer then dropped his mask to reveal the he was Bob. Laughs all around, thanks to Covid masking rules. As we all chuckled over modern life, Bob led us to their covered patio and gave us our choice of tables.
The patio was very comfortable, with the pavilion covering breaking the sunshine just the right amount of spring sunshine to keep us warm but not hot. We settled in and reviewed the expansive tasting menu. With three of us tasting, we still had very little chance of fully covering the list! Tough choices were needed, so we started with their 2019 Sauvignon Blanc as a refresher. The nice grapefruit and peach notes cleansed our palate while the smooth vanilla finish got us ready for some of the red wines that were directly in our cross-hairs. The first such red was their 2018 Mourvedre, a steady favorite because of the complex and nuanced flavors. From the smoky nose to the tobacco finish, this wine is adventure in a glass. Next up was one of the “tastes of the day” their 2018 Reserve Syrah, a Gold Medal winner in the SF Chronical Wine Competition. Rob pronounced this an “ahhhhhhh” wine because of the very drinkable ripe plum and Bing cherry flavors that danced across the tongue. One of these joined our Take Home list.
Also joining the Take Home list was their 2018 Cabernet Franc. This wine earned 91 points from Wine Enthusiast, and we could see why. Full bodied, with nice fruit and cola notes leading to tart cherry midway through and a gently tannic finish. Our final taste was their 2018 Alicante Bouschet, a Best of Class winner at the SF Chronicle Wine Competition. This is one of my favorite varietals, so I taste it whenever I can find it at a winery. This is a great example of this fine grape, showing delicate aromas of plum and entertaining layers of fruit supported by a caramel foundation. Nicely done representing the varietal, Dan and Bob!
With one more winery in our sights, we purchased our wine, thanked Bob and his team, and set off to our final tasting!
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?