SO...it's a beautiful sunny day in Carmel Valley and we have found yet another outdoor wine tasting venue--Cima Collina. Located in what used to be an 1890's milk barn building (and then a series of restaurants), the winery offers good wines and an idyllic setting for lollygagging away a perfectly good afternoon.
The newly painted all white historic building, and the striking red, white and blue flowers make for an inviting and rather patriotic entree to the wine tasting room. Out back, in a landscaped gardened surrounded by shapely oaks, are modern metal tables decked out with sunflowers in vases and red chairs where we sat and did our tasting.
Since it was a warmish day, we decided white wines were the ticket. We decided to create our own wine tasting by the three of us (our compatriot SW was with us) trying a different white wine. LC tried the 2010 Chalone Pinot Blanc and found it to be very smooth and pleasing, very light and fruity, perfect for the day. SW had the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc and liked it. It had a nice floral-fruit aroma and a full crisp feel to it. MK had the 2010 Tondre Chardonnay, made from grapes from the Santa Lucia Highlands, which had a little oakiness to it, "sporting a lengthy finish." Gotta love it. We also had a bag of Jeffrey's yummy little spiced pecans to accompany our wines.
There is a nice variety of ways to taste wines at this new tasting room and garden. You can order a tasting glass of something you like and pay 1/4 of the cost of the bottle. (Our wines ranged from $3.50 to $4.50.) OR you can do traditional tastings for either $5.00 for four wines or $10.00 for eight wines. And as a nice aside, you can bring in your own picnic food to enjoy with the wine--a great idea.
Although we didn't have a glass of the "Howlin' Good Red" wine this time 'round, we do love it, partially because it's just a fun, simple table wine, and also because 25% of its profits go to the local SPCA. Now that's a "howlin' good" and generous idea.
The new tasting location, open everyday during summer from 12-7 p.m., is located at 19 East Carmel Valley Road. We highly recommend a visit. You just can't beat the combination of an historic and beautiful setting and a fine wine tasting experience.