Dusk at Leer Vineyards in Byron was the perfect time to sample five of the seven varietals offered by Stefan and Tanisha Leer during a private tasting on the expansive lawn of their home. Fellow tasters from Concord, San Ramon and Pleasanton were given acrylic Riedel-style glasses as the couple poured and explained each wine from Sauvignon Blanc to Port with gracious enthusiasm.
It was still warm out – a perfect time to start with a chilled 2013 Sauvignon Blanc produced with fruit from Lodi. Two of our tasting group were chardonnay loyal but were pleasantly surprised at how well the citrus and apple flavors melded with the hints of melon and peach, delivering the mouthwatering experience described on the vineyard’s website. It’s a very balanced wine well worth the modest $22 price.
Leer’s 2013 Old Vine Zinfandel is aged in new 50-percent French oak barrels in Lodi and is as fine a Zin as any in our group had tasted. The classic flavor combination of cherry and vanilla was accented with berry and a hint of pepper, culminating in a most pleasurable sip, swirl and swallow. It paired wonderfully with the prosciutto and mozzarella wraps and is a great buy at $28.
Next in our glass was the 2013 Petite Sirah featuring grapes harvested by Tanisha and Stefan on their own property. It is similar to, but lighter than, the Zinfandel, also tasting of cherry but mixed with plums and having a delightful finish of caramel. It is understandably the pride of the Leers, and also our tablemates’ favorite pour of the evening. It sells for $28.
The 2007 Vermelho is the family’s dessert wine, a Port with a limited production of one barrel that sells for $20. Our group detected anise and ginger along with the website’s description of cassis (black currants) all of which make a tasting experience even more enjoyable when sipped from a dark chocolate cup.
The 2013 Single Barrell Red Blend comes in individually numbered bottles and sells for $50. Fifty percent of the proceeds from each bottle goes to the Special Kids Foundation, a charity dear to the Leers. We discovered it is well worth the price for the five glasses of nearly equal parts Zin, Petite Sirah and Barbera. Our tablemate requested and was granted the last number in the series, and the Leers happily signed it for him. It was rich, dark and stone fruity with white pepper and a velvety smooth finish, making for a smooth ending to the delightful evening.
To learn more about Leer Vineyards, visit https://leervineyards.com.