It's hard to beat the bucolic view while dining al fresco at Underdog Wine Bar overlooking the evergreen lawn and vineyards of Concannon in Livermore. Their selection of wines is terrific, with more options being added to augment their local Livermore Valley offerings (a highly applauded move), and their menu is seasonally adjusted, although core favorites remain. For summertime dining, the caprese salad is a delicious, sweetened by the balsamic with honey drizzle and excellent olive oil splash. The 2011 Concannon Reserve Rose is a good pair, with its dry raspberry and rhubarb flavors complementing the tomatoes and basil. Crab cakes with red pepper coulis are delightful with the Prosecco or Darcie Kent Gruner Veltliner. The skirt steak is over-seasoned, alas, but the 2009 Mother Vine Concannon Cab doesn't care, as she is soft and mellow, with forgiving breadth and depth, right down to her cherry-cigar core. The service was spot on, which I hope is not an anomaly, but a sign of a much-needed course correction for this otherwise pleasant wining & dining destination.
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