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Photo by Rodrigo Abreu on Unsplash

Garré Winery takes Best of Livermore at 2020 Harvest Challenge

For the first time ever, a Livermore wine ended up in the Sweepstakes at the annual Harvest Challenge Wine Competition, the only one that evaluates wines by American Viticulture Area (AVA).

The panel of judges that I happened to be on awarded five medals to Garré Winery, the sole Livermore winery to enter this year. The wine that made it to we chose for the Sweepstakes round, a culmination of the Best of the Best, was the 2017 Profound Secret, which was also named “Best of Livermore.”

“Profound Secret is named after a racehorse that the owner once owned and the front label comes from a picture of Profound Secret during a race,” said Aaron Luna, Garré’s consulting winemaker. “The 2017 was made as a field blend, which was harvested and fermented together. Only four barrels were produced, with 25% being in new American oak. The Profound Secret grapes come from a small half-acre block in front of the Bella Rosa event center and Garré Cafe.”

Profound Secret was a big hit during the Sweeps tasting and the first sampling of a Livermore wine for several of the 24 judges.

“Ninja Angel” Wine Debuts

Aidan Mirassou, seventh-generation winemaker for Steven Kent Winery and The Lineage Wine Company, wanted to do something special to honor his late mother, June, who lost her battle to glioblastoma in 2016. He created a special Bordeaux style blend to honor the woman he and his sisters called “Ninja Angel.” The bottle bears her image as stylized by her friend Robin Robinson. Sales of the wine benefit both the Brain Tumor Society and Culinary Angels. They can be purchased from Steven Kent Winery.

Sidewinder Spirits Rolls Out Rye

If ever there was a time that called for a savory spirit to lift our sagging ones, it is this perilous moment. Owner John Kinney and winemaker/distiller David Hendrickson are proud their new rye, of which Kinney says, “Single cask-aged a little over two years in American oak and then given additional aging in our tawny port wine barrel.”

Sips to Savor

Here are a few recently tasted wines that would make the holidays that much sweeter:

2017 Favalora Carignane, Del Barba Vineyard, Contra Costa – Frank Favalora loves this grape, which he says takes forever to ripen. It’s savory and generously textured, with ripe Mission fig flavors, and plenty of grip.

Rosa Fierro Cellars NV Primitivo – Brown sugar shortbread, sugarplum jam, a plush, velveteen texture and warm baking spice on the finish make this a holiday no-brainer.

2017 3 Steves Sangiovese, Grimes Vineyard, Livermore – Now this is Sangiovese, pure cherry, brisk and lithe. Ready to tackle your biggest, baddest lasagna.