As we move into the 2018 year, we’re already feeling some nostalgia for the incredible wines we released and tasted in 2017. Last year we were able to release a variety of new vintages, including one from our Concannon Cabernet Clones that pays tribute to the first of our iconic Concannon Clones, which helped elevate California Cabernet Sauvignon to world-class status. This phenomenal year for the vineyard paired with our year-end nostalgia is what lead us to have a conversation with some of our Concannon staff members to hear their picks for the best wine of 2017. Each of the five team members we spoke with gave us their pick for 2017’s best wine, but now it’s time for you to choose your favorite. Open our favorite great wines, give them a swirl, and let us know which wine is your number one pick for best wine of 2017! Let’s dig in.
Concannon Vineyard Staff Picks for Best Wine of 2017
John Concannon’s Pick for Best Wine of 2017 – 2014 Mother Vine Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
John Concannon, Fourth Generation Vintner, chose the 2014 Mother Vine Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, describing the wine as big and bold with dark brambly fruit flavors, balanced by smooth tannins and a long finish. As you sip this wine, look for hints of mocha and red berries. This vintage was released in the spring of 2017, and instantly became a hit with our club members, visitors, and the Concannon team. The Mother Vine Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied wine that, similarly to its own complexity, pairs well with complex flavors and high-fat foods. Open up this wine over a savory gourmet burger or a ribeye steak.
Awards and Accolades: Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition – 93 Points and Wine Enthusiast Magazine – 89 Points
James Foster’s Pick for Best Wine of 2017 – 2015 Concannon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
James Foster, Head Winemaker, chose the 2015 Concannon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon for its full-bodied mouthfeel and long finish. These grapes were harvested in Paso Robles, California, due to its exceptional terroir (climate, geography, and other important variables). Once the grapes came off the vine, they were placed in an upright pumpover tank to soften the tannins and add fruity aromatics to the wine. While sipping this wine, look for subtle flavors of cocoa, vanilla, and spice behind the luscious fruit flavors. This cabernet pairs with red meats or chili.
Awards and Accolades: Wine Enthusiast Magazine – 87 Points
LeeAnn Kaufman’s Pick for Best Wine of 2017 – 2014 Concannon Clone 7 Cabernet Sauvignon
LeeAnn Kaufman is the Concannon Vineyard Estate Sommelier, known throughout the Livermore Valley wine region for her educational and fun-filled events. LeeAnn’s pick for best wine of 2017 is the 2014 Concannon Clone 7 Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that bottles a piece of Concannon history and holds a special place in our hearts. This wine is rich and bold with dark cherry and fruit flavors coupled with cocoa and hints of spice. It is full-bodied with a long finish and pairs perfectly with hearty meats and strong flavors like braised lamb shanks with bleu cheese polenta.
Awards and Accolades: Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition – 92 Points
Alyssa Barber’s Pick for Best Wine of 2017 – 2015 Concannon Vineyard Chardonnay
Alyssa Barber, the Assistant Winemaker for Concannon Vineyard, chose the 2015 Concannon Vineyard Chardonnay. She found the chardonnay to be the best white wine that she tried in 2017 because of its perfect balance of oak and fruit flavors. This bright white is food-friendly (meaning that it pairs well with most foods) and also serving as a wonderful stand-alone wine. Perfect for any occasion – and an all-around crowd pleaser – this wine pairs wonderfully with grilled chicken and roasted root vegetables.
Awards and Accolades: Wine Enthusiast Magazine – 87 Points and Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition – 90 Points
Gregg Gorham’s Pick for Best Wine of 2017 – 2015 Reserve Captain Joe’s Petite Sirah
Gregg Gorham, the estate Wine Club Manager, chose the 2015 Reserve Captain Joe’s Petite Sirah because of its powerful fruity flavors and rich structure, all of which stem from its exposure to optimal microclimates and the surrounding terroir. As you sip this wine, look for hints of caramel and toffee. This great wine is a family tradition – stemming back to Second Generation Concannon Vintner, Captain Joe – that has been shared with the public, and shouldn’t be missed. Pair this favorite with meaty dishes and sharp cheese flavors like pepper jack or cheddar.
Awards and Accolades: Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition – 90 Points