Our tasting experience there was quite educational and entertaining. The tasting room manager, Jack Pickworth--or as he called himself, "the guy in the black hat"--has a philosophy that guides his approach to wine. It's "friends, food, and wine," in that order. When you go, plan to get hungry because Jack suggests succulent food pairings for each of the wines, and often suggests the appropriate setting.
Here are a few of the wines we enjoyed, with Jack's suggested pairings, and comments:
2010 Marsanne (white) with Brie and almonds, overlooking the ocean; 2010 Viognier (white) with its "nice smooth mouth ride over the tongue" with scallops or swordfish; 2010 Roussane for that rosemary chicken in the clay pot at 275 degrees for two hours; 2012 Rose de Saignee (made from Grenache)--"a 2 p.m. pool wine"--gotta love it!; 2009 Grenache (a fruity red from Los Ositos Vineyard) for those cheeseburger days; and finally, if lamb chops are calling you, reach for the 2011 Syrah.
The tasting is only $5 for seven tastes-- three whites, three reds, and one rose. You'll learn a lot about wine and food, and, if you're lucky, have the company of the tasting room dog, Sammy.And if you're wondering, as we did, who Marilyn Remark is, she's the wife of the owner/wine maker Joel Bernstein. Their winery is located on River Road in Salinas; their Carmel Valley location is on the East End Wine Row (where Silvestri's used to be) and is open Thursdays and Fridays, 1-6, Saturdays and Sundays 12-6.
Look for "The Remark of the Week" on the wine tasting bar.