For 2013, we want to broaden our wine horizons a bit, to continue to explore the ever-changing Carmel Valley wine scene, but to see what else is out there in our county--and beyond.
One of the best places to do that is A Taste of Monterey located at 700 Cannery Row (Suite KK). So off we went to get the big wine picture of our Peninsula and to create a little respite after the fullness of the holiday season.
"The Official" Regional Wine Visitors' Center, as it is called, has a spectacular setting--a spacious room with large windows overlooking the calming waves, frisky otters and sailboats of Monterey Bay. The view doesn’t get any better.
Plus, it has an incredible array of county wines. We saw many of the old familiars but some new-to-us ones, as well. One can do flights, order a glass, or have a bottle. The Monterey Sampler Flight, which includes five pours, costs $8; the Reserve Tasting Flight, also with five pours, costs $15.
We decided to create our own flight, focusing on wines we had never tasted: a 2012 Lucienne Pinot Noir, a 2012 Pierce GSM (Granache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre), a 2009 De Tierra Syrah, and an Albariño and Tannat from Cambiata.
Of those we tasted, our favorite wines were from Cambiata.
The 2010 Albariño (a grape varietal of northwest Spain) was "rich, crisp and floral", and very easy on the palate. The Tannat (a grape varietal from the Basque Pyrenees area) was full, bold and boasted a glorious deep color. It was the first time either one of us had tasted a Tannat and we were sold. To read more about these wines and the winery owner's philosophy, check out the Cambiata website.
By the way, if you buy a bottle of wine from A Taste of Monterey, they provide a list of peninsula restaurants that will waive the corkage fee. A nice perk. Plus, they have a wide selection of wine-related products and gifts. One we particularly liked was an apron that said "Wine is the answer. What was the question?"
We think A Taste of Monterey, open daily from 11-6 (831 646-5446) is the perfect place for first time wine-loving peninsula visitors. And we think it's perfect, too, for all of us seasoned residents who just want to relax and savor the beauty and wines of our spectacular home territory.
Happy New Year Everyone!