Rhonda Wood, winemaker at Wood Family Vineyards, is a charismatic person which influences the entire winery. From high in the sky to down to earth wines!! Yes Rhonda Wood, winemaker/owner of Wood Family Vineyards used to fly planes (US Airways) but now can be found in the vineyards tending vines. She and husband Michael (with their two sons), have a winery in eastern Livermore. Rhonda started making wine in 1996. Besides sourcing wine on their property (Merlot), they have 17 specific vineyards which are manicured to their specifications throughout Livermore’s ideal climate.
Rhonda and the family winery are small in comparison to some of the Livermore’s known name wineries, but have been regarded for years as one of the top quality wine producers. For example, just recently they received the following accolades for her 2017 Malbec:
• 2017 Malbec – 93 points Wine Enthusiast
• 2017 Malbec – Best of Show – SF Chronicle Wine Competition 2020
This wine on the eyes is medium viscosity and with a deep royal purple coloration, yet around the rim it is almost translucent (per the picture). On the nose blackberries and dark red plums are the leaders rushing into claim dominance in the olfactory senses. On the palate, besides blackberries and plums, you experience a soft note of milk chocolate, gentle smokiness counterbalanced with the fresh ripe cherries. The finish is velvety smooth with medium acidity and tannins with no sharpness. Also on the finish the presence of ground stone minerality. Alcohol was 14.5% with only 210 cases produced and listed at the winery at $34.
The Food Pairing with 2018 Wood Family Vineyards Malbec
When the weather doesn’t allow for BBQed short ribs, here is a great alternative! Oven baked Country Pork Ribs with a homemade rub and either drizzled or covered with a barbecue sauce. Ingredients for the rib rub include: chili powder, dark brown sugar, smoked paprika, cumin, dried oregano, kosher salt, red pepper flakes (crushed) and black pepper. Total cooking time was 2 hours and 30-45 minutes on low heat. The aroma and flavor was very similar to just coming off the grill. We used a “spicier” BBQ sauce, but that paired nicely with the wine. The fruit and smoothness of the wine, calmed down the spice and smokiness on the ribs and BBQ sauce very nicely. An excellent choice of wine with the meal.