by Andrew Chalk
FROM THE WIRES....
Wente Vineyards is the country’s longest continuously family-owned and operated winery.
Those wines include Wente Vineyards’ 2019 Southern Hills Cabernet and 2020 Riva Ranch Chardonnay. Fusing traditional and innovative winemaking practices, the winery draws from its sustainably farmed estate vineyards just east of San Francisco in the historic Livermore Valley, as well as Arroyo Seco, Monterey for its outstanding portfolio of wines for the money.
2019 Southern Hills Cabernet, Livermore Valley: With Livermore Valley’s unique east-west orientation, well-drained rocky soils, and unique mesoclimate, the Southern Hills vineyards have exposures ideal for growing Cabernet Sauvignon of depth and intensity. The 2019 Southern Hills Cabernet welcomes with aromatics of dark plum and cherry. The dark fruit carries onto the palate, delivering boysenberry and fig notes with a hint of warm baking spices. This wine finishes with round, smooth tannins. ($20/bottle)
2020 Riva Ranch Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco, Monterey: The long, cool growing season in Arroyo Seco and the region’s deep gravelly soils ripen this Chardonnay perfectly, balancing out its viscosity with a vibrant acidity. The 2020 Riva Ranch Chardonnay opens with toasty oak aromatics, complemented by baked apple, white nectarine and almond on the palate, finishing with a roundness that begs for another sip. ($22/bottle)
The Wente Chardonnay clone is among the most influential clones in American wine. In 1912, the Wente family imported Chardonnay cuttings from a well-known vine nursery in Montpellier, France, to the Livermore Valley. They hand-picked vines that showcased the best health and pronounced flavors, grafted the two together and ultimately created what today accounts for over 75% of all California Chardonnay.
Founded in 1883, Wente Vineyards is recognized as one of California’s premier wine country destinations, featuring wine tasting, food and wine experiences, and championship golf. Today, the winery maintains its leadership role in California wine, growing under ownership and management by the fourth and fifth generations of the Wente family.