Blending With Winemakers Studio
When I last left everyone, I had departed Double Barrel Wine Bar and was on my way to Taste Our Terroir‘s next session, Blending With Winemakers Studio at Wente Vineyards. Thank you again to Visit Tri-Valley, who sponsored my attendance at this session.
For those who may not know, Wente’s history dates back to 1883. The winery is still family owned and certified sustainable and the grapes are estate grown. Wente was the first winery in the United States to produce varietally-labeled Chardonnay (1936 vintage) and is known as California’s First Family of Chardonnay™. Karl D. Wente is Wente’s fifth-generation winemaker.
The winemakers blending session was nothing short of fabulous. There were six of us and our instructor in the session. Our instructor gave us an introduction to Livermore Valley’s climate, so that we understood the impact of its east-west orientation between the San Francisco Bay and Central Valley. We tasted through our building block red wines: four Cabernets from different vineyards ranging from cooler to warmer climates, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot and Malbec. My favorite Cabernet was from the Smith Vineyard and yielded lots of red and black fruit and acid. My favorite non-Cabernet was the Petit Verdot. I was very tempted to make a 100% Petit Verdot, but the label said red blend, so I opted to the follow the rules. However, I was reminded why I love Petit Verdot: it’s a big wine with loads of dusty tannins and dark berry and chocolate flavors. I selected the Petite Sirah primarily for color and the Malbec as the wine that bridged the flavor gap between the cooler-climate Cabernet and the Petit Verdot. I played with three blends and finally decided to go rogue with 55% Petit Verdot, 25% Smith Vineyard Cabernet, 10% Malbec, and 10% Petite Sirah. We bottled our blends, then added the cork, foil, and label. It was my first attempt at blending, so it will be interesting to see how it turns out after the bottle shock wears off.
Dinner at Posada
My Visit Tri-Valley host, Emmy, picked me up for dinner that evening and had selected an off-the-beaten-path place to try. I probably would have never discovered Posada if it weren’t for her. Posada, the catering company and restaurant, was founded by Eduardo Posada, a man who followed his passion for cooking for the past 30+ years from his humble beginnings to where he is today:
Posada got his first taste of a culinary career in the early 1980s, making and selling breakfast burritos for $1.25 from a cart he attached to the back of his 1976 Ford LTD in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Posada offers innovative and fresh Southwestern cuisine paired with wines from Livermore Valley. My host and I enjoyed a selection of tapas, including BBQ Duck + Blue Corn Cakes + Red Cabbage Slaw and Duo of Mahi Mahi Tacos + Watermelon Salad. Emmy selected a local Chardonnay and I selected a local Grenache Rosé. For dessert, we had churros paired with Mexican hot chocolate.
What a delicious end to a fantastic day! Day 2, I head to McGrail Vineyards.