Wente Vineyards, the country’s oldest continuously operated, family-owned winery is celebrating its 135th anniversary this year. The Livermore winery is well known for industry-wide contributions to innovation, sustainability and hospitality. Carolyn Wente, fourth generation winegrower and CEO stated “while honoring the rich history of the 100 percent estate-grown vineyards we also are celebrating the fifth generation who are leading Wente Vineyards into the future.”
In 1883, C.H. Wente purchased 47 acres in Livermore Valley. He and future generations of his family are credited with establishing the Wente Clone of Chardonnay. Over 80 percent of today’s California Chardonnays are derived from this special clone. The family is often referred to as California’s First Family of Chardonnay. The Wente family is also credited with releasing California’s first varietally labeled wines in 1933, developing the Arroyo Seco American Viticultural Area in Monterey County in 1963 and being a leader in offering first-rate wine country experiences. This includes an award-winning restaurant, a Greg Norman-designed golf course, historic tasting rooms, tours and an amphitheater that brings in national headliners. Congratulations to the Wente Family. Here’s to the next 135 years.
More quality bargains
Here are more bargain gold medal winners from the 2018 S.F. Chronicle Tasting. Barefoot Sangria was best of class. Double golds went to their rose, pink moscato and zinfandel. Golds went to their rich red blend and pinot noir. It’s no wonder that Barefoot sells more than 18 million cases yearly. My mid-priced (under $10) favorites, McManis, Bogle and Cupcake, also pleased the judges. Bogle’s 2015 barrel aged zinfandel took best of class, the 2014 petite sirah blend “Phantom” won a double gold and golds went to the 2016 sauvignon blanc, the 2015 cabernet sauvignon and the 2015 merlot. Double gold went to McManis’ 2016 Jamie Lynn Vineyard Barbera. The 2016 River Junction Viognier and petite sirah took gold. Cupcake’s 2015 Monterey Chardonnay was best of class. Double golds went to the 2015 Central Coast pinot noir and the 2016 rose. And a gold was awarded to the 2015 Red Velvet. All of these wines are sale priced under $10, available everywhere and excellent value.
What’s on our table is the 2015 Napa County Educated Guess cabernet sauvignon, a best of class winner. It’s a Bordeaux blend, rich with layers of blackberry, cherry and dusty milk chocolate flavors with an incredibly long finish. Retail is $22, but I found it for $18. Reward yourself, buy two or three. Cheers!
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