La Rochelle Winery in Livermore: Pinots in paradise

    If you're in Livermore, I'd put La Rochelle high on your list of places to visit.

    la-rochelle-livermore-wine-pinot-flight-4
    4 purposeful Pinots in fine form

    It’s perhaps a little odd that you can find such great Pinots in Livermore wine country, given its inland location compared to bigger name neighbors such as Napa and Sonoma to the west.

    Part of the trick is the sourcing of the grapes. The other is the presentation of the wines with a European style pairing all for only $15.

    If you’re in Livermore, I’d put La Rochelle high on your list of places to visit.

    On our last tour, we finished the day at their small, craftsman-style tasting room. Unlike most wineries, La Rochelle is a sit-down wine and food pairing. Sitting back, relaxing with friends and enjoying some fine Pinot was the perfect way to reflect on the day and discuss one of our favorite passions: wine.

    You can choose from two flights: a mix of reds and whites or Pinots only. All eight of us opted for the Pinot flight as we knew it was La Rochelle’s calling card.

    Thankfully, unlike some earlier stops in the day, the wines did not disappoint.

    The tasting group agreed all of them were strong performers. It was only after carefully comparing each back-to-back over an hour of swirling, sniffing, sipping and discussing that we could begin to agree on ratings.

    2006 Classic Clones Pinot Noir, Arroyo Seco $42 (89 pts.)

    • Pronounced cherry, smooth throughout and elegant

    2006 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir $40 (91 pts.) ** PICK **

    • Tremendous aroma and complex flavors; we all agreed long finish, fruits with berry, but enough tannins
    • Cellar potential

    2006 Santa Cruz Mtns. Pinot Noir $48 (88 pts.)

    • The tasting note accurately described this one as the most tannin or acidic of the group
    • Could pair well with lamb or roast

    2006 Sarmento Vineyard Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands $50 (89 pts.)

    • Also excellent, although we found the Santa Lucia to have slightly more complexity and interest in flavor

    La Rochelle Winery
    5443 Tesla Road
    Livermore, CA
    Tel: 925-243-6442
    www.lrwine.com

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    • Loni Kao Stark

      A couple of corrections. There was only 6 of us and there was one person who opted for the red/white flight.<br />
      <br />
      It's ok, this was at the end of a day of wine tastings :-)<br />
      <br />
      I did find it interesting to see so much of the fruit sourced from other regions like Napa. Pinots supposedly grow well in Livermore if they are grown on a steep slope so that no vines get sun all day, keeping the vines cooler.

    • A couple of corrections. There was only 6 of us and there was one person who opted for the red/white flight.

      It’s ok, this was at the end of a day of wine tastings :-)

      I did find it interesting to see so much of the fruit sourced from other regions like Napa. Pinots supposedly grow well in Livermore if they are grown on a steep slope so that no vines get sun all day, keeping the vines cooler.

    • A couple of corrections. There was only 6 of us and there was one person who opted for the red/white flight.

      It’s ok, this was at the end of a day of wine tastings :-)

      I did find it interesting to see so much of the fruit sourced from other regions like Napa. Pinots supposedly grow well in Livermore if they are grown on a steep slope so that no vines get sun all day, keeping the vines cooler.

    • Steven Mirassou

      Thank you very much for stopping by La Rochelle; it sounds as if you had an enjoyable experience.<br />
      <br />
      La Rochelle started life in San Jose and sourced most of its fruit from the family vineyards in Monterey County. When I bought the brand from my cousins and brought it to Livermore, we decided that we should concentrate on a single variety…and from the 2008 harvest forward, we will be a Pinot only house.<br />
      <br />
      With a desire to make Pinot Noir as well as any other winery, we have gone to nine different potentially world-class appellations to source our fruit. Part of the joy of this particular kind of project is that we get to work with such great vineyard partners who are as passionate about growing great Pinot Noir as we are about producing it. <br />
      <br />
      Thanks again for including us. I hope we get to see you and your friends again soon.<br />
      <br />
      Steven Mirassou<br />
      Proprietor

    • Steven Mirassou

      Thank you very much for stopping by La Rochelle; it sounds as if you had an enjoyable experience.

      La Rochelle started life in San Jose and sourced most of its fruit from the family vineyards in Monterey County. When I bought the brand from my cousins and brought it to Livermore, we decided that we should concentrate on a single variety…and from the 2008 harvest forward, we will be a Pinot only house.

      With a desire to make Pinot Noir as well as any other winery, we have gone to nine different potentially world-class appellations to source our fruit. Part of the joy of this particular kind of project is that we get to work with such great vineyard partners who are as passionate about growing great Pinot Noir as we are about producing it.

      Thanks again for including us. I hope we get to see you and your friends again soon.

      Steven Mirassou
      Proprietor

    • Steven Mirassou

      Thank you very much for stopping by La Rochelle; it sounds as if you had an enjoyable experience.

      La Rochelle started life in San Jose and sourced most of its fruit from the family vineyards in Monterey County. When I bought the brand from my cousins and brought it to Livermore, we decided that we should concentrate on a single variety…and from the 2008 harvest forward, we will be a Pinot only house.

      With a desire to make Pinot Noir as well as any other winery, we have gone to nine different potentially world-class appellations to source our fruit. Part of the joy of this particular kind of project is that we get to work with such great vineyard partners who are as passionate about growing great Pinot Noir as we are about producing it.

      Thanks again for including us. I hope we get to see you and your friends again soon.

      Steven Mirassou
      Proprietor