First up was Wente’s 2014 Eric’s Chardonnay, produced with estate grapes from small blocks in their Livermore vineyards. Un-oaked, it had a very soft nose. A very dry wine, I picked up just a bit of citrus. It improved with food and I thought it paired well with pear puff pastry and with Hilarie’s tapenade. It retails for $28. It was time to move on to the second Chardonnay.
Next up was yet another Wente Chardonnay, the 2013 Riva Ranch single vineyard Chardonnay. A solid wine with bright acidity and good balance, it was a hit with Linda S’ crostini with bleu cheese and apple-onion confit with maple syrup. It also went very nicely with smoked Gouda, strawberry salad with candied pecans and tapenade. Expect to pay about $22 for it.
Our final Chardonnay came from Lake County, the 2013 Shannon Ridge Chardonnay. I never really warmed up to this wine. I found it had a very subtle tropical fruit nose and thought it was astringent on the palate. It sells for $12 and contains 2% Sauvignon Blanc.
Our last wine was the 2011 Shannon Ridge Terre Vermielle Barbera. I picked up plum and blackberries on the nose and found it very fruit forward. I preferred it on its on to pairing it with food. It carries a $30 price tag.
Tom Plant launched WINEormous in 2009 and is a member of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association. Based in Temecula, California, he offers intimate winery tours for no more than seven people. Tour details and pricing are available at www.temecula-tours.com. Call now to book your Temecula Winery Tour at (951) 907-9701. Ask about special discounts.