We began our wine education, and fun, by visiting the closest wine tasting room to our homes. It was Bernardus at 5 West Carmel Valley Road. Since it was a hot day—over 100 degrees—we appreciated their air conditioned room. There were already six people at the tasting bar and we could tell the servers were helpful and friendly and the repartee, fast and lively. We found our places at the bar and ordered the $5 tasting which allowed us to try four wines—a Sauvignon Blanc, a Chardonnay, a Pinot Noir, and a flagship wine called Marinus. We sipped and attempted to match up the descriptions of “fresh grass, gooseberry, grapefruit and white peach” with what our un-educated palates were actually tasting. We could honestly only come up with more mundane words of “round, complex, drinkable” but were willing learners. The wine we ultimately liked the best that day and purchased, at $22.00 a bottle, was the 2007 Ingrid Vineyard Chardonnay, an “extra” to our tasting choices. We loved the fact that the actual grapes for the wine came from the estate vineyard one can see in front of the Bernardus Lodge on Carmel Valley Road and that it was named after the Bernardus owner’s wife. This was about as local as we could get—just what we wanted.
In researching the wine on the Bernardus Winery website, Bernardus.com/winery, here’s what we found: “The Ingrid’s 2007 exudes a perfume of ripe fig, apple and pear with notes of crème brûlée and ginger spice. On the palate we find intense flavors that mirror the aromas and a refreshingly crisp acidity lingering on the lush, well-focused finish.”
We wish we could say we could taste even a hint of fig or that note of crème brûlée. At this point, we can’t…but that’s what we’re aiming for. We do know that we liked it and that’s a great beginning. We will definitely go back for another tasting soon--the $10 “Mr. Pon’s Reserve Tasting.”
The tasting room is opened from 11-5 every day. There are places at the tasting bar for about 15 people so if you have a group of more than four, you might want to call ahead to check on space at (831) 659-1900.