There aren't going to be too many real tasting notes; I waited a touch too long before writing this.
Saturday was another Livermore run. We started at Vino Cellars in downtown Livermore. They're a small "wine furniture" shop that retails a few brands of temp-controlled storage cabinets. We weren't able to place an order, but Lance should be getting us the answers we're looking for soon. Among other things, we're trying to get a few columns of custom racking sized to fit splits and dessert wines.
Our first wine stop was at Retzlaff Estate Wines. They're an interesting little place, making only estate wines (no imported or purchased grapes) from their obsessively organic little vineyard. They do a delightful Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend (and it's not called "Duet"). Their "Family Reserve" cabernet sauvignon is pretty impressive.
Stop 2 was at "Tesla Vintners," the community tasting room that supports Thomas Coyne, Fenestra, Big White House and Little Valley (no longer in Sunol). We tasted Little Valley and Big White House there (because we reguarly go directly to the other wineries).
Little Valley is doing an allegedly "Brut" sparkling wine, but it's pretty damned sweet. Their Raspberry Sparkling wine, on the other hand, is a touch better balanced because of the added acid from the raspberries. We picked up, but haven't tasted their Almond Sparkling wine. All 3 are "charmat" (tank) process wines. They're doing a pretty decent Tempranillo too. All were OK, but none were thrilling.
Big White House was offering a Carignane and a Movedre. Again, OK but not thrilling.
The next stop was a bit of a surprise. Steven Kent Winery is in the cellar beneath a house in front of the Tamás Estates Winery. Kent is a little boutique winery specializing in somewhat experimental wines. Their "Merrillie" Chardonnay is very interesting; it's aged in oak and spiked with malolactic bacteria, but instead of tasting like vanilla buttered toast, it's still fruity with a hint of butterscotch and caramel at the end. They do a nice cabernet sauvignon, but we didn't buy any; we're pretty loaded with cab sauv. The runaway hit, though was the "sneak preview" of their "Radius," a Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon/Barbera blend.
Finally, we hit a bunch of our regular stops, mainly to drop off fliers. Cedar Mountain didn't have any new releases, and we just had a short glass of sauvignon blanc. Bent Creek just released their new sauvignon blanc, and it's up to their regular standards. Thomas Coyne offered up a new "La Petite Quest" blush; it's a bit darker and heavier than previous years but still very tasty.