Continuing the “Virtual Wine Tasting” in Different Regions While Staying in Place. 3 Steve’s in Livermore, California (Plus Chile!)
(The 3 Steve’s, L to R, are Steve Zigant, Steve Burman and Steve Melander)
3 Steve’s is exactly why it was named thus. It started with three friends (Steve Burman, Steve Melander and Steve Ziganti), all in the wine business, who wanted to own their own winery. They insisted on meticulously working their own vineyard as well as bringing fruit back to their winery. Thus their tagline “3 Friends Striving to Make the Perfect Wine”. They opened the property in 2013 after a few years producing wine at a custom crush operation. In 2014, their Zinfandel was voted Best Red Wine of Show at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. They have never looked back!
They make an assortment of wines from whites to reds to sparkling. Their list is too numerous to list but for a small operation they produce various varietals: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, white blends, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and many more.
They can now add these awards to their ever growing list of award winning wines:
*2011 Cienega Valley Ancient Vine Zinfandel – 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Best of Red Wine of Show. Our biggest accomplishment to date, this is the largest US wine competition in the world and this wine was voted Best Red Wine (Sweepstakes Award) over 5300 other wines.
*2012 Sauvignon Blanc – 2013 Tri Valley Conservancy Uncorked Wine Competition, Best White Wine of Show
*2014 Sauvignon Blanc – 2015 Tri Valley Conservancy Uncorked Competition Best Sauvignon Blanc of Show
*2011 Cabernet Franc – Affairs of the Vine 2013 Cab Shootout Second Place Best Wine of Show
*2012 Livermore Valley Merlot – 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Best of Class.
*2013 Cabernet Franc – 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Double Gold.
*2013 Cabernet Sauvignon – 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Gold.
*2012 Sauvignon Blanc – 2013 Tri Valley Conservancy Uncorked Wine Competition, Gold Medal
*2015 Livermore Valley Chardonnay – 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Gold.
*2013 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Silver.
*2014 Livermore Valley Merlot – 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Silver.
*2014 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel – 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Bronze.
*2013 Zinfandel – 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Silver.
*2013 Three Brunettes Blend – 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Bronze.
*2013 Three Blondes Blend – 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Bronze.
*2013 Three Cabs Blend – 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Bronze.
*2012 Cabernet Sauvignon – 2015 Tri Valley Conservancy Uncorked Competition Silver Medal.
*2012 Livermore Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Silver.
*2012 Cienega Valley Cabernet Franc – – 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Silver.
*2012 Chardonnay – 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Silver Medal.
*2011 Cabernet Franc- 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Silver Medal.
*2010 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel – 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Silver Medal
*2008 Cabernet Sauvignon – 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Silver Medal
*2009 Zinfandel – 2012 Best of the Bay Zin Challenge Competition, Silver Medal
*2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – 2012 Best of the Bay Wine Competition, Bronze Medal
*2009 Zinfandel – 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Silver Medal
*2009 Chardonnay – 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Bronze Medal
*2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Bronze Medal
*2007 Cabernet Franc – 2011 Best of the Bay Wine Competition, Bronze Medal
Last December 2019, 3 Steve’s won the Best of Show and Double Gold at the Inaugural California Wines and Wineries Cabernet Franc Wine Competition.
Featured Wine – Carménère
The vineyard where their Zinfandel was grown in California is owned by a person who also owns a winery in Chile. Over the past 5 years, the 3 Steve’s have been traveling to Chile where they produce and bottle their 3 Steve’s South American wine Carménère and import back to Livermore for sale.
(Photo by Alchemy Winery and used with permission)
Now to find out more about Carménère (one of the lost Bordeaux varietals) and its Phoenix rise from the ashes, a quick history can be found at Wine Folly https://winefolly.com/tutorial/10-cool-things-to-know-about-carmenere-wine/ . Suffice it to say, it was transported from Bordeaux to Chile in the 1800’s as Merlot but was only recognized in 1994 as actually being Carménère. This vineyard is located in the famous Cachapoal Valley know to produce the best of the best Carménère.
What makes the pedigree of this wine so outstanding is that it is “handmade” by the local village people in Chile. No automated equipment or optical sorters, only manual labor removing each berry from the cluster by hand and destemming by hand. This allows each bin brought into the winery to be “perfect” with no leaves, stems, MOG (material other than grapes) of any kind contaminating the wine. The results are silky and full of fruit. They also using “water bladders” to gently increase pressure during the press operation. This insures a long but high end extraction of a clean and gentle press to get bottled. The net of both of these intense manual labor processes allows one of the most flavorful Carménère wines I have tasted.
The wine is a deep red color, with medium viscosity on the eye. Bold fruit notes of black cherry and raspberry abound in each sip. Key to the taste beyond the typical Carménère flavors of bell pepper is, as Steve describes it, as having “mild spicy components, smoked paprika and hints of cinnamon”. It is slightly oaked with round & gentle tannins and a strong lingering finish.
The Food Pairing
Paired this evening was a stir-fried flank steak in olive oil, a dash of garlic and a little Teriyaki marinade/sauce with cut Shitake mushrooms. Served with a medley of zucchini and squash with green onions. Accompanied with cauliflower rice and a garden salad. A lovely food pairing
This has historically made my yearly list of the “Best Wines Less than $50” and is a sure bet to make the list in 2020.