Livermore Taste Our Terroir 2013 – My Taste of Terroir


(Photos by H. Kremer)

I was grateful to attend the Livermore Valley’s kickoff event for Taste Our Terroir 2013 at the Casa Real in Pleasanton this past Thursday.  The event was the first of a four-day weekend showcasing the food and wine of the Livermore Valley.  For the remaining days, many wineries were hosting tours, with others offering wine-paired dinners with cooking demonstrations, and much more wine-related events.

Established in 1849, the Livermore Valley has long been a forgotten wine destination.  Within the last two decades, a groundswell has been building to remind us that the Livermore Valley has a great deal to offer.  This movement has come from a variety of different groups, including wine growers associations and the wineries themselves.  Two of the wineries, Concannon and Wente, have deep historical roots in Livermore and have made many contributions to the changing landscape and strive to continue to draw attention to the Livermore region.

Thursday’s event had about 20 wineries each stationed with a local caterer.  The pairings were exquisite, and I had the opportunity to talk with many winery representatives and caterers alike.


A couple standout pairings were:

  • Eagle Ridge 2010 Zinfandel paired with small gnocchi (green potato dumplings) served with a lamb ragu sauce
  • Garre Vineyard 2009 sauvignon blanc paired with smoked salmon on bruschetta with capers and goat cheese
  • Concannon’s Righteously Rosé with a Gulf shrimp, Coho salmon, Pacific true cod, sea scallop sausage with Olivina EVOO, chives, rosé cream sauce with chervil [a delicate fennel-like herb]
  • Occassio Vineyard 2010 Zinfandel paired with American Kobe beef Carpaccio lollipops


My favorite was the watermelon gazpacho with a skewer of miscellany presented by Tender Greens Catering of Walnut Creek paired with the Retzlaff Vineyards’ 2011 Isabelle Blush, a merlot rosé.


I was fortunate to speak with one of the pairing judges, David Glancy, after the competition.  David is the founder and CEO of the San Francisco Wine School and has a culinary background, so he was well suited for judging the pairing competition.


I asked him what standards he was looking for in the pairings.  He told me he was looking for pairings that were “right on” for the particular varietals, but he also said that the judging was not about wine or food, but that he was looking for the best pairing.

He alluded that the wine and the food together needed to equal more than their individual parts.  He and another judge mentioned, “1 + 1 = 3.”

All in all, it was a great event to attend, and I’d love to attend it again to see what different pairings the caterers and wineries concoct for the evening.

How about you, did you attend?  Which pairing did you feel was the best, and why?


Follow Helen Kremer’s Livermore Valley Winery App posts by her Twitter handle @lvwineapp


  1. I love Livermore wines. We have been Fenestra Fanatics for about 15 years. Never have we received a less than stellar wine. Lanny, and now his protege, make fabulous wines.nn1nn1nn1nn1nn1nn1nn1nn1

  2. Paulette MacLaren says:

    First, I would like to say, those chefs worked so hard making beautiful and scrumptious bite sized meals! I certainly did not expect the diverse and elaborate food! I loved the Eagle Ridge / Terra Mia Combo. I only wish that Terra Mia made the gnocchi on a regular basis and included it on their menu. Wow, watermelon gazpacho and wine… that was an interesting and tasty favorite of mine too. However, the Scallop and the Page Mill Chardonnay was amazing together and my absolute favorite. The seafood sausage did nothing for me, and did not look very appetizing, but the combo was pretty okay! 1+1 = 3! I can’t wait for next year!nn1

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