The Livermore Valley Says A Loud “Hello, Merlot!”

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As part of a national movement to pull Merlot wines back to their starring role, Livermore Valley held Merlot tasting at the Bankhead Theater Saturday afternoon. Ten Livermore Valley wineries producing Merlot from the valley grapes participated. The public was admitted for a small fee and food was available for purchase. Each winery served their current vintage and a few had some additional vintages available for tasting. The wine ran the gambit from 100% Merlot grapes to many having blended in some small percentages of other varieties. Those adding other varieties included Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon for example. All were excellent wines.

Each winery presented a unique factoid on Merlot. Those included Merlot being the highest production grape in France to the typical flavors found in Merlot. Each winery participating are all small family-owned wineries. The Merlot wines ranged from $30 to $70.Here are the wineries in alphabetical order with their placards:

A large crowd showed up to enjoy the festivities, the crowds being indicative of the resurgence of Merlot in Livermore.

Not only was the crowd enjoying the event, many of the winemakers were equally enthralled with Merlot!

No official voting or judging was done at the event. However, three of the wines exemplified a traditional French Merlot or higher end Napa or Sonoma Merlots and impressed me. They were: #1 Retzlaff Vineyards and tied at #2 were Fenestra Winery and Page Mill Winery.  In full disclosure, I had never tasted their wines before the event. Again, I enjoyed all the wines at the event and would not hesitate to purchase any of them (I have a couple of the wineries Merlot’s in the cellar).

This is an event, should they hold it again is not to be missed!!




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