Both of my brothers are home right now and that means David and I have been making lots of short trips out to see my family in Livermore. It’s under an hour drive from San Francisco, and between the rolling hills covered in vineyards, charming downtown and almost constant sunshine (it’s 90 degrees there today!) we love these little trips to our “country house.”
Two weeks ago we decided to do a little local wine tasting starting with Murrieta’s Well. I’ve been to Murrieta’s Well countless times over the past decade, and my brother Scott worked at their sister winery right out of college. After hearing rumors of their recent renovation, we were eager to go back. The winery is an important part of our hometown’s history. The name Murrieta harkens back to the days of the wild west when legendary Robin Hood figure Joaquin Murrieta would stop through Livermore to water his horses at the artesian well on the estate that now bears his name. The rustic yet elegant building is from 1884 and was one of the first gravity flow wineries. The original beams and concrete still stand but the recent renovation built out a beautiful patio for tastings and kitchen so they now offer a menu of small plates which makes it the perfect spot to linger on a Saturday afternoon.
We started out with pours of their Chardonnay and Dry Rosé and wandered around the property, before settling into their new Club Member lounge for the full wine tasting and a lunch of small bites. The dishes were delicious and paired beautifully with the flight, and with three guys we ordered almost everything on the menu and it all disappeared. I especially loved the cauliflower hummus and the pretzel bites. Scott works in Napa and it’s always fun to go tasting with him. We were divided on our favorite wines, with two votes for their 2014 Zarzuela (a rustic Spanish-style) and two for their 2014 Malbec. This vintage is among the first under new winemaker Robbie Meyer.
All of Murrieta’s Well wines sourced exclusively from the estate that surrounds the tasting room, so after lunch we took a quick hike through the vineyards, to observe the block of Merlot grapes just weeks before harvest. There are also some beautiful views of the Livermore Valley from the hill behind the tasting room. We were almost able to make out our parents’ roofline from the top! (We could spot their neighborhood at least.) Livermore has grown up a lot since my parents moved our family here 16 years ago, and it’s exciting to see this wine country community come into its own, while still retaining a small town charm and the comforts of home.
Photos by David Flinner and Stacie Flinner.
Thank you Murrieta’s Well for partnering on this post!