Thursday evening, July 19th the Palm Event Center, located at 1184 Vineyard Avenue in Pleasanton, once again hosted this years annual Livermore Valley Winemaker’s Association event, Taste of Terroir. Taste of Terroir has become a Livermore Valley Wine Country tradition as it meshes the best wineries this region has to offer with some of the most amazing and unique Livermore Valley restaurants.
Livermore Patch’s own Kris Noceda asked us to cover this exciting event with Jenny and Julia representing Bryersantis, Livermore’s Own Wine Blog. Taste of Terroir is one of the highlights of the summer. The Palm Event Center is a gorgeous venue for this event. As you enter it’s gates, the palm tree lined driveway invites you onto it’s breathtaking property. With views of the vineyards and gorgeous modern mission-styled buildings, this is the perfect location to represent Livermore Valley.
As we entered the hall we were greeted by a flood of guests. We were handed a wine glass and a plate and were off! Winemakers and restaurateurs were mingling amongst the guests. The aromas of garlic, spice, and decadence were in the air with a fluttering of excitement; We were not sure which station to start at first. With over 20 restaurants and wineries in attendance, we knew that it would be impossible to visit each one and to describe each pair in detail would lead to an amazing and lengthy novel that may need to be written in the future, so instead we will highlight the visited stations of the evening.
Las Positas Vineyards and Scott’s Seafood Bar and Grill
Eagle Ridge and Terra Mia
Crooked Vine and El Sacromonte
Longevity and Winemaker’s Pour House
McGrail and Double Barrel Wine Bar
Cuda Ridge and Sanctuary Ultra Lounge
Rodrigue Molyneaux and Castlewood Country Club
Concannon Vineyards and Underdog Wine Bar
Page Mill and First Street Ale House
Wente Vineyards and The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards
Nottingham Cellars and Handles Gastropub
Steven Kent Winery and Neil Marquis Catering
On the patio:
En Garde Winery
Port provided by Fenestra Winery and desserts provided by US Foods.
As we mingled around, eating and sipping merrily, we ran into a host of Livermore Valley Wine Country celebrities. Most of the winemakers and many restaurant owners were on hand for this evening and it was a thrill to chat and catch up with this talented group. We also were happy to run into artist Jill Denton that was showcasing a collection of her beautiful original paintings. Derek and Rhiannon Eddy, owners of the Purple Orchid Inn, were also amongst the who’s who of Livermore, as was the sophisticated sultry sounds of Motel Sheets. The evening was amazing and the excitement continued to build as we waited to hear the announcements for the winners of this year’s Taste of Terroir Food and Wine Pairing Competition. Taste of Terroir is not only an opportunity for us as guests to be introduced to the sights and smells of Livermore, but it is also a chance for the winemakers and restaurateurs to compete together. This wine and food pairing competition is voted on in two separate and distinct ways. The first of the awards are blindly judged by professionals in the industry. This year Taste of Terroir had the honor of having the following judges:
Jessica Yadegaran – Food & Wine Staff Writer, Bay Area News Group
Lynne Char Bennett – Food & Wine Staff Writer and Test Kitchen Director, San Francisco Chronicle
Jeffrey Anderson – Executive Chef and Director of Culinary Innovation, Safeway Inc.
The second part of the competition was the People’s Choice awards. Each guest was given a wine cork and was encouraged to cast their vote for their favorite food and drink pair.
The winners of this year’s competition were:
Most Innovative Pairing:
Wente Vineyards – 2009 Nth Degree Merlot, Livermore Valley
The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards
Lamb sausage with crispy garlic and mustard-curry BBQ Sauce
Best Classic Pairing:
Rodrigue Molyneaux – 2009 Cabiovese, Livermore Valley
Castlewood Country Club
Wild game burgers – buffalo and lamb seasoned with fresh local herbs, St. Andre cheese honey truffle aioli and arugula micro greens on a soft roll
Judges’ Best Pairing:
McGrail Vineyards & Winery – 2009 Cabernet Reserve, Livermore Valley
Cocoa rubbed pork belly, smoked cherry shallot marmalade with a crispy potato gaufrette
People’s Choice Award:
The Steven Kent Winery – 2009 The Premier Cabernet Sauvignon, Ghielmetti Vineyard, Livermore Valley
Neil Marquis Catering
Open-faced BLT – cabernet infused, cured, cherry wood smoked pork belly on parmesan crisp with heirloom tomatoes, micro greens, and a black cherry cabernet and chocolate aioli
The Taste of Terroir was an amazing event, planned down to the smallest detail. If you have not taken the opportunity to attend in the past, we would highly recommend purchasing tickets when it comes around next July.
Thank you Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association for creating a great event for winemakers and restaurateurs to showcase their craft in a beautiful setting. For more detail on all wineries and restaurants participating, please go to the link on the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association’s website: http://www.lvwine.org/event/1728/1342670400_0/Taste_of_Terroir_Livermore_Valleys_Wine_Food_Experience_July_19_2012.html
Make sure you mark your calendar for other great events happening throughout the year.
Cheers to Livermore and the Taste of Terroir!