Archive for January, 2008

Battaion Cellars

Battaion Cellars


Ring in the New Year with one of Livermore Valley’s newest wineries. Specializing in traditional sparkling wines, Battaion Cellars offers a wide variety of bubbly. And to make it easy to sample their wines, Battaion Cellars opened a new public tasting room in downtown Livermore at the end of December.

The founders and operators of the winery have lived in the San Francisco bay area for most of their lives. Starting as an organic gardener and grape grower turned wine maker, Dustin Battaion felt a need for traditional style sparkling wine in the valley. The French have a term for the traditional style; it is called “methode champenoise”. This is the secondary fermentation in bottle method, with the wine aging “on the yeast” for a period of time.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the dominating grapes in traditional bubbly production. A third grape, the Pinot Meunier, is also utilized by some sparkling wine houses. Battaion Cellars utilizes the Pinot Blanc grape in place of the Pinot Meunier.

Current releases are from harvests within the Santa Maria Valley appellation, one of the finest regions in California for sparkling wines. Battaion Cellars also harvested Livermore fruit in 2007, due to the wonderfully cool summer season.

Four products are currently available for your sipping pleasure. A Chardonnay-based Non Vintage Brut tops the menu. It is young, crisp, with hints of oak. Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir are blended with the Chardonnay to round out the finish.

Next up is a fruit forward Pinot Noir. This Blanc De Noirs has a salmon color with a lovely, yeasty nose. The palate is floral with citrus, apple, and pear essences.

For the bold, I suggest the 1996 Vintage Reserve Brut. This full bodied, mellow vintage was aged “on the yeast” for over 7 years. It is creamy and smooth with nutty, toasty qualities. The 1996 is on limited reserve. Look out for the 1999 Vintage scheduled for release in February 2008.

The final release is the Cuvee Rouge. This Syrah/Grenache combination is a stark contrast from the light and elegant Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blends. This dry sparkling red catches your eye. The best description of this bubbly can be summed up as full bodied, with strawberry and raspberry jam/preserve qualities.

The tasting room is located in Blacksmith Square at 21 S. Livermore Ave #109 on the corner of Livermore and Railroad Avenue. Hours include Fridays 4-7, Saturday and Sunday 12-5. Phone number is 925-245-9242.

Private tastings and meetings are also available.

Website and ordering at http://www.battaioncellars.com

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