Yesterday on my company offsite we ventured a few miles away to Treasure Island for a wine tasting. I have pasted the exit maybe 100 times and never realized there was a whole wine world on the little island.
We went this little rustic tasting room called Vie Winery. Vie’s limited-production Rhone varietal and zinfindel-based wines grapes come from Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Napa, and Lake County vineyards.
We did a blind tasting of 4 reds their Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The wines were a bit lighter and jammy than one would expect from Cab or Zin however they were tasty. I enjoyed their Zinfandel most. I didn’t do so hot on the blind tasting scoring a whopping 25%, yes I am not proud but it was a good time.
They place is situated just feet away from the water and has outdoor bocce ball courts. We had a friendly bocce competition and it was good size for a large private group.
Check out this post on a few other hidden gems on the island worth visiting.
Yesterday I drove vertical up the dirt roads of Moraga, California to find Meadow View Winery. My little Toyota Corolla used every bit of its 4 cylinder engine to make it up there but holy gorgeous, it was worth it. After reaching the top of what seemed like a mountain, I approached the most beautiful vineyard. The vines were cascading down a small hill with a beautiful house behind where two of the wine growers Doug and Isabelle live.
I was greeted at the gate by two border collies, a kitten, Doug and Bill English, the winemaker, it was quite the welcome party. Walking up the driveway I got to see immediately where all the “magic happens”. There were a few barrels in the driveway with their latest Cabernet Sauvignon that will be bottled in the next few weeks. Bill was cleaning out one of the barrels and a muddled wine and water mixture was flowing down the driveway.
It was clear it was a collective operation at Meadow View Winery. All of them have their place in the process. It is a straight vine to table experience. They really leave the wine to do its magic with little to no handling through the fermentation process. Their wines are not filtered nor fined. They have 3 grape varieties growing in Doug and Isabelle’s vineyard, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. The rest of the grapes are spread across 5 vineyards in Lamorinda (If not familiar with Lamorinda AVA read my post on the up & coming wine region). For being a local operation that grows and produces in Lamorinda they have a ton of different grape varieties with the highest of quality wine.
I tasted their 2014 Cabernet Franc, 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2016 Chardonnay and their latest 2015 Cabernet Savignon from the barrel that has yet to be bottled.
I was literally in awe with how good all these wines were. They all had very distinguishing characteristics that one would hope when drinking the variety. The Cabernet Sauvignon it smelled of tobacco and roses and tasted of cherries. The Chardonnay was so crisp and refreshing with citrus aromas and flavors that were the perfect balance of tartness and smooth creaminess of caramel. All wines were smooth and easy to drink. These wine would easily compete with California’s largest AVA’s.
I enjoyed hearing Bill, Doug and Isabelle’s stories of how they came to love wine and start Meadow View Winery. You can see the passion and love for wine emunating from them. This is reflecting in their wines. Stay tuned on more posts about the lovely Meadow View Winery.
Today I ended up strolling to the far back of Total Wine & More where there was a 5 cent tasting. Of course I gathered 5 cents from the bottom of my purse to have a taste. There were over 10 different types of wines to taste.
There stood local winemakers with their hard work being poured into small tasting cups. My attention was quickly captured seeing that these wines were made less than a few miles from where I live & I had very little clue this was going on.
On Feb. 24, 2016 after the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau established the 29,369 acres of Lamorinda as an American Viticultural Area (AVA). The new-ish wine region includes Orinda, Lafayette & Moraga (map shown). The 3 winemakers I met today gave me a warm feeling as they seemed humble and excited to have people tasting their hard work.
The two local wineries there were Meadow View Winery & Los Arabis Vineyards.
Meadow View had 4 wines to taste
- Meadow View Super T Lamorinda ($21.99)- French Roast coffee and ripe cherry on the nose. In the mouth Dutch cocoa with hints of raspberry.
- Meadow View Cab Lamorinda Joyce ($21.99) – A violet nose with fruit and earth. In the mouth, earth and minerals blend plums and dark chocolate.
- Meadow View Pinot Noir ($21.99) – Dark cherry and hint of licorice in the nose turning into lush ripe strawberries in the glass.
- Meadow View Rose Lamorinda ($15.99) – hints of cherry blosson, hibiscus flowers, watermelon.
Los Arabis Vineyards (Ward Family Wine) had 1 wine to taste:
- 2013 Pinot Noir ($21.99) – dry and silky, with flavors of cola, nutmeg and mace.
*Prices are without pick 6 price, if you pick 6 you get 10% off.
I ended buying the Dry Rose from Meadow View and the Pinot Noir from Los Arabis both can be purchased at Total Wine & More.
I see this wine region as a little gem of the East Bay. As flocks of tourists head to Napa, I will take the road less traveled to Lamorinda AVA. Get the wines in local stores or online at most of their website or simply take a trip down.