Thursday, March 07, 2013

Wine Tasting in Livermore Valley - Concannon Vineyard

After visiting Wente Vineyards, Mijo and I went to check out the new outlet stores in the nearby Pleasanton with the hope of finding something affordable and at the same time something nice.  After a quick lunch we decided to head back to the wineries.

The next and the last winery on our list was Concannon Vineyard. Another winery with a long history in California. Can you believe this vineyard introduced America's first Petite Sirah? We totally had fun in this welcoming and laidback winery plus the wines are very good!

I first heard of Concannon Vineyard from The San Francisco Chronicle when they ran a special section on Livermore Valley last summer with emphasis on the area's wineries. I also sampled my first Concannon Vineyard wines at the SF Chefs event last summer and I remember Mijo, Mijo's sister Claudia and I all agreed they were very good.

Concannon Vineyard is also on the same road as Wente Vineyard, that is, on Tesla Road. In fact, Tesla Road is dotted with vineyards and wineries. From Pleasanton, we actually reached and drove past Concannon Vineyard on our way to Wente Vineyard.

Concannon Vineyard

So after a couple of hours of window shopping at the new Pleasanton outlet stores and a quick lunch, we headed back to Tesla Road to our last destination of the day.

Concannon Vineyard - Old Vines

The vineyard and the layout of the complex is beautiful. After driving through the iron gates, the long road will lead you to their winery and tasting room. The vines are still dormant this time of the year but I quickly noticed how thick the grapevines are. Maybe over 20-30 years old? It is easy to romanticize this winery.

Concannon Vineyard - Tasting room

The steel vats are far away enough from the tasting room. Unfortunately, you cannot miss them from the parking lot. They are part of the production process, after all.

Concannon Vineyards - Steele vats

You pay the tasting fee at the door and they'll hand you a wine glass for your tasting. You'll immediately get a whiff of that wine smell that is usually present in tasting rooms and wineries. As soon as we get settled in by the bar, our pourer Bill, who is very knowledgeable and who was very patient with us and with our questions, presented us with the tasting menu of the day. 

Concannon Vineyard - Inside Tasting room

They were having a Gold Medal weekend special where all purchases that day was 10% off.

Concannon Vineyard - Bar

The menu consisted of 2011 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Conservancy Chardonnay, 2009 Reserve Syrah, 2010 Conservancy Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 Reserve Polo Field Vineyard Petite Sirah. The wines were all good but we had to stick to a budget. This is the challenge I have when wine tasting especially when all the wines are very good. Since it is a side by side tasting, people will generally have a winner even though all wines are very good.

Concannon Vineyards - America's First Petite Syrah

We were told by our pourer Bill that the Reserve wines are only available at the winery.  The Conservancy wines are from grapes grown on land that were put into legal trust that protects against development forever. That is why the name, Conservancy. 

Concannon Vineyard - Petite Syrah

For wines this good, I was surprised to see that the prices are reasonable. So it was not difficult for us to decide to get more than two bottles. We took home a bottle each of their reserve wines in the tasting menu. Bill also mentioned that the wines can be aged up to 10 years.

Concannon Vineyard - The reserves

 We will definitely come back since I was not able to get the scoop about the winery's history and take pictures of the photos of generations and generations of winemakers at Concannon Vineyard.

Thank you Concannon Vineyard and many thanks to our pourer, Bill, for answering all our questions.


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