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Sipping Local: Livermore Valley Wines to Try

Looking for that one perfect bottle? We asked a handful of local experts for their favorite bottles from Livermore Valley wineries. Here are their top picks.


We asked our expert wine panel for their favorite bottles of Livermore Valley wine. Here are even more picks of their favorite wines.


Jim Denham, The Wine Steward, Pleasanton
Jim Telford, Residual Sugar Wine Bar, Walnut Creek
Kelly McFarland, The Winemaker's Pour House, Livermore
Noel Young, Esin Restaurant, Danville
Robert and Julie Armstrong, Double Barrel Wine Bar, Livermore

2010 BoaVentura Table White Wine
The nose is ripe with tree fruit, citrus and minerality. Notes of crisp apples, yellow pears, lemon and lemon zest. Tropical flavors of passion fruit, guava, and cantaloupe come in on the palate with beautiful acidity.

2010 Wente Vineyards "Eric's Small Lot" Chardonnay
An un-oaked Burgundian style Chardonnay that exhibits crisp vibrant acidity, primarily due to the lack of malolactic fermentation. This “naked Chard” sees no time in wood and is aged in stainless steel, and is the complete opposite of typically massive, buttery Chardonnays. A gunflint minerality with orchard fruits lead to a refreshing citrus finish.

2009 Tate Dog Chardonnay Wisner Vineyard
This very small-production offering from former Wente man Mike Wanless comes from a single Livermore vineyard. Generously fruited in the “cocktail style,” there is enough acidity to keep it sip-able. Barely restrained decadence.

2010 Chouinard Winery Barbera
A snappy, zippy, spicy red. Also their 2010 Gewürztraminer: dry fruit forward and refreshing.

2006 Picazo Merlot
Powerful. Big and strong like Pomerol. Chocolate, black currant, and boysenberry hit the nose like a fist. Then the underlying essence of blackberry and spice sneak in. Complex aromas of eucalyptus, peppermint, and fruit leather find their way in as well. Palate is big, tannic, ripe, and satisfying.

2008 Ruby Hill Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley
Look to McGrail and Steven Kent for more fruit-forward, impressively-built “Power Cabs,” and check this out for a more “traditional” Cabernet.  Good balance and structure, with a flavor delivery that transcends the monotone of “just fruit” to include cedar, dry earth, and spice.

2009 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon
Big fruit flavors of black cherry and blackberry start things off leading into notes blue flowers and spices including anise, clove, and pepper. Hints of smoke and cedar unravel into a ripe raspberry palate

2008 McGrail Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
This beautiful wine aged in a blend of French and Hungarian oak barrels, aromas of dark berries, light spice and vanilla fill the nose. And a lush black cherry, chocolate finish with soft tannins.

2010 Nottingham Cellars "Casa De Vinas" Petite Sirah
Blueberry aromatics, boysenberry, raspberry and dark chocolate flavors with a solid tannic structure. Silky-smooth finish.

2007 Eagle Ridge Petite Sirah 
Deep berry with spices in a well-integrated palate and finish. Very food friendly.


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