Wine Of The Week: Las Positas 2020 Coccineous

A juicy California red with serious Spanish inspiration.

Though situated in the center of the Livermore Valley, a wonderfully underrated AVA (American Viticultural Area) just outside San Francisco, Las Positas Vineyards looks to Spain and Portugal for inspiration.

When figuring out which grapes to plant, winemaker Brent Amos saw a lot of parallels between the Livermore Valley (think cool nights, hot days, and ocean influence coming in off the San Francisco bay) and his favorite Spanish region.

Now, the winery’s entire profile has an Iberian lean — think vivacious Tempranillos, vibrant Albarinos, and silky Barberas. And all are grown entirely the winery then processed, fermented, aged, and bottled on site.

(Photo: Las Positas)

“I always appreciate elegance over power with wine,” says Amos. “So I start with the best grapes I can harvest by hand in our vineyards and simply guide them to where they belong.”

The Coccineous (“it means scarlet in Latin”) is a great representation of Plautz’ Spanish obsession. It’s made primarily with Graciano blended with Monastrell, Tempranillo, and Garnacha — all grapes you don’t find as often in these hills. Tangy, bouncy, and high-energy, with juicy black cherry and moderate tannins. Fun all around! $60

If you’re ever in the area, their Livermore Valley tasting room has excellent nosh and a full range of Spanish-leaning sips with a California accent to try out.

Kate Dingwall is a WSET-trained sommelier and spirits writer. Her work has appeared in Wine Enthusiast, Eater,, and Food & Wine, and she pours wine at one of Canada’s top restaurants.