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Mia Nipote, a Livermore AVA wine, is fairly new to the business. That said this is no ordinary “mom & pop” garage operation. In fact just the opposite is true! The best word to describe their operation is QUALITY. From the hiring of the top tier winemaker (Chad Alexander), to Viticulturists (Bryan Rahn, Michael Princeville) to selected Clones (337,7,191) to manicured “V” trellis system to 75% new French barrels each year this is no ordinary Livermore wine. The proof is in their award winning 2010, 2011 & just released 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (2010 & 2012 are my favorites). They also produce and sell a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc with fresh citrus and pineapple coming through. Their Wine Club has release parties held either at their home or this fall at Castlewood CC along with food and live music. So while Lynn and Kevin, owners will talk about the tribute of their wine to her grandfather (Mia Nipote is Italian for “my granddaughter”), I think it a testament of a commitment to quality at every turn of the operation, up to and including a “heavy weight bottle” and classic labeling. Definitely a wine for your cellar. Great job!
Picture yourself here at Outpost Wines on top of Howell Mountain(2200 feet elevation) on a warm summer day! The only thing more spectacular than the view, is their assortment of wines. For two years in a row, I have rated their Cabernet Sauvignon in the “Best of the Year” category. Thomas Rivers Brown is the winemaker and offers The Outpost 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon True which scored 99 points from Robert Parker. On the 28 acres estate they produce one of the most unique Grenache wines (whole cluster fermentation) I have tasted–definitely try the 2013! Also available are the Cab Sauv Estate, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Chardonnay. Frank Dotzler, the owner has put together a first class team from the tasting room to production.
Conn Creek Winery on Silverado Trail is often driven by but seldom stopped to visit. Their “Barrel Blending Experience” is an unique opportunity to blend your own wine from various AVA’s. The educational aspect of this experience alone is worth your time. Additionally their three series of wines are very good: Anthology (Cabernet); AVA Series (Chardonnay & Cabernet) and the Napa Valley Collection (Cabernet, Cab Franc & Sauv Blanc). Tracey Hoff the Tasting Room Manager is one of the best in Napa Valley!
If you have “cenosillicaphobia” (the fear of empty glasses) then Steven Kent Winery in Livermore is perfect. While at first a lot of empty glasses exist, they will soon be filled is with some exquisite wines! This is in the Reserve Room.
Cabernet Franc on the right is available from Trespass Vineyard in St Helena. Don and Dana Gallagher produce boutique wines. They also do a must have Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine on the left is from Don’s library, a 2005 Cab Franc.
One of the unique finds this year was Pam Starr’s blend of Malbec and Cab Franc. Smooth (Malbec) with hints of spice (Cab Franc). Excellent pairing with Mexican dishes.
A nice surprise from the Castlewood Wine Club. A very dark and young wine, an almost black Cabernet & Cab Franc Blend with a hint of chocolate and sweet tannins. Not one to cellar but a good “to drink wine”. Will give an indication of 2013 vintage from Napa.
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc produced by Alan Potts is a “home run” and made my Top Wines of 2015. Worthy of buying and is more of “drink now” but could be held a few years.
Rhonda Wood has been producing wonderful wines as bright as her smile for 10+ years. One of the best winemakers in Livermore Valley. Her Chardonnay, “Especial” Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah are all outstanding.
Kinsella Estates in Healdsburg offers several good Cabernet Sauvignon’s and a zesty Zinfandel. A Thomas Rivers Brown project.