Over the past decade the Livermore Valley Wine country has steadily grown from about 18 wineries in 2000 to over 50 by 2010. I have been to most of the wineries in the valley but every now and then another pops up that I haven’t found time to visit or it is tucked away somewhere and I somehow just miss it if it isn’t near other wineries or I haven’t checked for updates on the Livermore Valley web site ( http://www.lvwine.org/ ).
A couple weeks ago I was traveling down first street when low and behold I noticed a winery that I had not been to yet, Cuda Ridge Wines, so I popped in to do some tasting, meet the owners Larry & Margie Dino and came away pleasantly surprised at the quality of wines made from local Livermore grapes and brought home a couple bottles.
I tasted the 2009 Livermore Valley Semillon ($18), the 2008 Livermore Valley Cabernet Franc ($28), the 2008 Livermore Valley Malbec ($26) and the 2008 Livermore Valley Petit Verdot ($32). All of these were exceptional wines but I was most impressed with their Cabernets.
I first tasted the 2008 Livermore Valley Cabernet Sauvignon which is actually more of a Bordeaux style blend (80% Galles Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Triska Crane Ridge Merlot, 2% Mel's Ranch Cabernet Franc, 5% Ghielmetti Malbec, and 5% Smith Ranch Petit Verdot). It is an awesome Cab with black currant, plum, black licorice, and vanilla. Only 71 cases were produced and it sells for $30 a bottle.
I tasted the 2008 Livermore Valley Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon (87% White Cat Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Galles Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon), this is a HUGE bold “in your face” wine with loads of black currant, plum, black licorice, and vanilla. It may be a little too “over the top” for some people but I really enjoyed it and brought a bottle home and shared it with some friends a couple days later. Only 37 cases of this wine were produced and it sells for $32 a bottle.
The second Cab I tasted was the 2007 Livermore Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon which is also a Bordeaux style blend (75% Galles Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Triska Crane Ridge Vineyard Merlot, 2% Mels Ranch Cabernet Franc, 15% Smith Ranch Petit Verdot ) which spent more time in the barrel (31 months) so while it has loads of black currant, plum, black licorice like the ’08 it has a lot more vanilla on the back end of the palate. There were only 24 cases of this wine produced, it sells for $38 a bottle and I brought one home.
For more information, check out their web site (http://www.cudaridgewines.com/winery.html ) and if you visit tell them you heard about them from Erik Wait at California Wine Tasting Adventures!