Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - March 21, 2014

Roll out the barrels

Winegrowers open their doors with early samples

Wine lovers, take note: Livermore Valley winegrowers at 30 wineries are inviting enthusiasts to taste new products in development at the fifth annual Barrel Tasting Weekend on March 29-30.

The tastings will be held from noon to 4:30 p.m. both days, and guests will also have the chance to pre-purchase many of the barrel wines at a discount, a practice known as buying "futures." At many locations, the winemakers will be present to pour and discuss their young wines, and also to offer pairings with gourmet appetizers.

Barrel Tasting Weekend is a chance for wine lovers of all experience levels to get a "snapshot" of how wine evolves, from the grape to the glass. More than a dozen varietals, including the rare Primitivo and Alicante Bouschet as well as ever-popular Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, will be presented across the Livermore Valley.

Examples of special events, which include tastings, are:

* Las Positas Vineyards: Winemaker Brent Amos will discuss the differences between American and French oak barrels in winemaking.

* Big White House and John Evan Cellars: Visit the Aroma Bar and learn how to recognize the aromas found in wine.

* Cuda Ridge Wines: Side-by-side tasting of 2011 Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot and matching 2012 barrel samples. Live music by Roger Kardinal and Steve L'Hereault on March 29.

Advance tickets for the Barrel Tasting Weekend are $40, available online at www.LVwine.org. Tickets purchased at the event will be $45 per person. Each ticket includes a souvenir tasting glass featuring the Livermore Valley Wine Country logo, two days of barrel tasting at participating wineries with at least one barrel sample at each, special activities, discounts and an event map.

-- Dolores Fox Ciardelli

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