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Monday, March 1, 2021

Wine, Frankly: A Trip to the Livermore Valley

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Frank Pagliaro
Frank Pagliaro
Frank Pagliaro has been a Wilmington wine merchant since 1986 – Frank’s Union Wine Mart. He is the Team Host & Chief Wino of the FranksWine.com Marathon Team which gets fellow winos and runners together to train for a yearly Fall Marathon while raising money for children’s charities.
 

Wente Vineyards

When Christine Wente throws a summer party at her Piedmont home, she usually starts early so she and her friends can feed their toddlers – maybe a gourmet pasta inspired by her training at LeCordon Bleu in Paris – and still get everyone home by bedtime. And there’s always plenty of Wente wine to go around.

 

Christine Wente

When her younger brother, Karl, 34, has friends over to his century-old farmhouse on the family winery property in the Livermore Valley, a jam session usually breaks out with Karl on a guitar or mandolin, and a keg of beer on the front porch. The party often doesn’t end until guests have pitched tents in the front yard … it is summer after all!
Karl Wente
As different as they are, the two siblings – the fifth generation of the winemaking family – are a good pairing. “Christine is a very contemplative, deep-thinking, behind-the-scenes organizer. Karl is very immediate, a brilliant go-getter and very outward-engaging,” says their aunt and company CEO Carolyn Wente. “It’s a good match. They are a good foil for each other.”

 Wentes

And now Christine and Karl are bringing Wente wines and the Livermore Valley to the millennial generation – a generation that is drinking more wine and better wine at a younger age than the baby boomers before them.

Wente 2010 S. Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 Wente Cabernet Sauvignon

In the 19th century, California wine pioneer Charles Wetmore imported Cabernet Sauvignon cuttings from Bordeaux to plant in his Livermore Valley vineyards. Today, the Wente family farms approximately 400 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards. With their undulating terrain, meandering Arroyos, well-drained rocky soils, and unique mesoclimates, the Southern Hills vineyards are located in the most desirable settings with exposures ideal for growing Cabernet Sauvignon of distinct character, depth and intensity.

 

This Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits flavors of cherry, dark plum and a hint of coffee. Rich, yet approachable tannins provide a long, smooth finish. Aged for 14 months in a combination of American, French, Eastern European, and neutral oak.

Wente 2010 Sandstone Merlot

Wente Merlot

The grapes for Sandstone Merlot come from a gently sloping formation of hills running along the southeastern corner of the historic Livermore Valley. With warm days, cool nights, well-drained sandstone soils, and incoming breezes from the San Francisco Bay, the Wente family’s hillside vineyard is an ideal place to grow outstanding Merlot.
This Merlot exhibits aromas and flavors of black cherry, blackberry and plum with hints of black tea and toasted oak. A smooth mouthfeel and inviting tannis lead to a long, fruity finish.
Wente 2011 Louis Mel Sauvignon Blanc

Wente Sauvignon Blanc

A French emigrant, Louis Mel traveled the western United States in the 1870’s seeking a place to make wines to rival the great French Crus. He found the ideal home in the Livermore Valley.  Acquiring Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon cuttings from the Marquis de Lur-Saluces, owner of the famedChateau Y’quem, he planted them in his vineyards. The Wente family acquired the Louis Mel estate in the 1930’s, where the descendants of these vines, located in the southern Livermore Valley, live in gravel and loam soils similar to the terroir of their native Bordeaux.
Aged in stainless steel tanks this Sauvignon Blanc has a beautiful straw color and aromas of guava, melon, gooseberry, citrus and pineapple. With crisp acidity and flavors of honeydew melon and pineapple, this wine delivers a creamy, refreshing finish.

Wente 2011 Morning Fog Chardonnay

Wente Chardonnay 

Each summer morning, fog billows inland through the Golden Gate, pushed by Pacific wind streams into the bowl of the San Francisco Bay. Here, it forms deep fog banks that rest on the East Bay Hills. In just one place, the Livermore Valley, with its unique East-West orientation, the fog banks come further east, cooling the air as it goes. This daily phenomenon creates the Mediterranean or Marine climate found in less than 1% of the world’s land mass. And it makes the San Francisco Bay and Livermore Valley appellations ideal for growing wine grapes that are beautifully balanced. This Chardonnay, named Morning Fog, pays homage to this rare climate.
50% of this wine was barrel fermented in French oak, while the balance was fermented in stainless steel tanks to preserve the natural fruit flavors inherent in this Chardonnay. The barrel fermented portion was aged sur lie for 7 months. Batonnage, the art of stirring the barrels, was performed monthly. The stainless steel portion was aged on lees for 7 months.  Enjoy aromas and flavors of green apple and tropical fruits, balanced by subtle oak, cinnamon and vanilla from barrel aging. With a mouth-filling body and balanced acidity, this wine delivers a medium-long, refreshing finish.

Wente 2011 Riverbank Riesling

Wente Riesling 

The Arroyo Seco Appellation is defined by a unique geological feature called the Arroyo Seco Cone. Composed of soils, water sources, and wind streams that differentiate it from the Salinas Valley and the Monterey Appellation, it was created over eons by the flow of the Arroyo Seco as it spills down from the Santa Lucia Mountains. This funnel-shaped region appears at the edge of steep slopes where the river has cut a deep ravine, forming an imposing riverbank. On the southern edge of this ravine, Riesling flourishes in the deep rocky soils.

The grapes were cold fermented and aged in stainless steel. Fermentation at lower temperatures highlights the natural fruit flavors in the grapes. The wine did not go through malolactic fermentation, helping to retain its crisp acidity. This Riesling exhibits aromas of honeysuckle, lychee and grapefruit, with a hint of nutmeg and clove. The taste is crisp and fresh, delivering full, classic Riesling flavors of tropical fruit and spice. The acid and the semi-sweetness are perfectly balanced for an excellent mouth feel. This intriguing wine is delightful as an aperitif or served with fruits, cheeses and a variety.
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Latest News

They’re baaaackkkkkk. Cicada onslaught is on its way this spring

The cumbersome bugs rarely do much damage, but there will be millions of them per acre.

Nnanna Njoku embracing lead role for No. 1-ranked Sanford heading into tournament

Star player says he's tried to incorporate some of Villanova's techniques into his game

State expects shipment of one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, maybe by week’s end

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose, unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which need two doses.
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- Thank you to our sponsor -

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