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Put Livermore on your winery list

Wente Winery carries on tradition

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

If You Go...

What: Wine Academy: Wente Vineyards

Where: Avalon Golf and CC Squaw Creek

When: July 23 at 7 p.m. or 330-539-5008

When most Valley residents talk bout taking a trip to California wine country, the conversation is usually focused on Napa Valley and Sonoma County. The truth is there are a lot of other outstanding growing regions throughout California that offer outstanding wines and exemplary hospitality.

The Livermore Valley-San Francisco Bay region should be on every wine lover’s destination list. If you visit this beautiful area, a stop at Wente Vineyards is a must. The Wente family has been making fine-quality wines for five generations at their family’s estate in Livermore.

Winemaker Karl Wente has carried on his family’s tradition of focusing on high benchmarks for quality. The Wente portfolio is large, and each wine reflects the family style in its own way. The grapes also reflect the territory where they are grown.

“Our house-style at Wente has always been a focus on balanced, food-friendly wine, with a sense of place, and my goal is to continually lead in that direction. That’s why we grow grapes where we do. To me, it is a source of pride that my family has been committed to the soil and climate of Livermore Valley for five generations and Arroyo Seco since the 1960s. It’s a part of who we are, and the wines we want to make,” Wente said.

Wente balances a traditional, old- world “hands-on” approach to winemaking and vineyards management with a strong academic background. He holds a chemical engineering degree from Stanford and two master’s degrees (viticulture and enology) from the University of California Davis. His father, uncle and grandfather also studied at UC Davis, long considered the top school in the country for aspiring winemakers.

Wente uses that combination of his education and the family’s historical knowledge of the land to produce some consistently outstanding grapes vintage after vintage.

“In every region of the world, the top wineries realize that great wine is made in the vineyard. The secret to great wine is perfect grapes. We continue to focus on innovative farming and top quality fruit as the keystones of our wine-making at Wente.”

Wente Vineyards was honored as Wine Enthusiast magazine’s “American Winery of The Year” in 2011. Here’s a look at five excellent wines from Wente Vineyards

2013 Louis Mel Sauvignon Blanc

This Sauvignon Blanc has a beautiful straw color and aromas of guava, melon, gooseberry, grass and lime. With crisp acidity and flavors of honeydew melon and pineapple, this wine delivers a long, refreshing finish.

2013 Riva Ranch Chardonnay

Displaying the perfect balance of tropical fruit, acidity and creamy notes of butter, vanilla and subtle oak from barrel aging, this Chardonnay has a round mouth-feel and a crisp, long finish.

2012 Riva Ranch Pinot Noir

Rich aromas and flavors of cherry, strawberry and vanilla, with subtleties of toasted oak, earth and cigar box. This Pinot Noir is bright with crisp, natural acidity, delicate tannins and with a long fruity finish.

2011 Sandstone Merlot

Exhibits aromas and flavors of black cherry, blackberry and plum with hints of toasted oak. A smooth mouth-feel and inviting tannins lead to a long, fruity finish.

2012 Southern Hills Cabernet

Flavors of ripe black cherry and dark plum with undertones of coffee and spice. Rich, yet approachable tannins lead to a long, smooth finish. It spends 14 months in American, French, Eastern European neutral oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. Stainless steel helps to add fruit vibrancy.