The Carmel by-the-Sea Wine Walk #WineWednesday
I was thrilled when we were invited to once again return to the breathtakingly stunning Carmel by-the-Sea (& Carmel Valley, too!) for a weekend getaway. While SoCal was being throttled with El Nino, I was oblivious to the wet and windy weather. Instead, we were gifted with some of the most beautiful scenery, beaches and sunshine I have ever seen.
More on that in the up-coming weeks! For Wine Wednesday, I want to share with you one of the best things to do if you find yourself fortunate to be in Carmel by the Sea, and you love wine: The Carmel Wine Walk and Passport.
The Wine Walk by-the-Sea passport gives you 9 vouchers to each be redeemed at 14 tasting rooms that are throughout Ocean Avenue, Carmel’s tree and flower lined main drag loaded with decadent restaurants, world-renowned art galleries, shops that range from such well-loved designer names like Coach and Tiffany’s, to locally owned favorites like The White Rabbit (A store completely devoted to Alice in Wonderland. What is NOT to love there?) and Cottage of Sweets.
Throughout Ocean Avenue you will find the tasting rooms where heres a wine for anyone to enjoy on The Wine Walk. From bold reds like Pinot Noir, to local white fave Chardonnay, these 2 favorites among wino’s thrive in Monterey County due to the cool, often grey climate you will find there.
While we did not have enough time to hit all on the walk, a must-taste for me was Wrath. You might recall I first fell in-love with Wrath wines on my trip to San Jose. Nestled inside a 3 story plaza boasting such fun shops as Kate Spade and Tommy Bahamas (as well as a restaurant with a menu for dogs), Wrath’s tasting room had such a welcoming, cozy vibe upon entering. We grabbed some seats at the bar and the wonderful Ruth led us on our way to a great wine flight.
We began with a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc. I appreciated its light, citrus notes and the “zing” it put on my palette. Notes that lingered were definitely grapefruit, with a bit of melon. The description also noted lime, which I could not find.
With Mike and I both loving a great Chardonnay, Ruth gave us the best of both worlds with a taste of the 2014, followed by a 2013. The 2014 involved absolutely no oak in its production: all stainless steel, which was music to my ears as I gravitate towards a less oak-y Chardonnay. The craziest memory about this glass? It truly had very present notes of…..wait for it…banana. This was a first for me, in a great way! Chardonnay, reminding me of my favorite fruit? What could be better?
Next up, the 2013 Chardonnay. What struck me most was how much this wine tastes like what some expect a Chardonnay to taste like: It was buttery, more heavy, and very oak-y. It had been awhile since I’d had that experience with a Chardonnay, and it was great.
Next up, a Mary (and Carmel) favorite: Pinot Noir. a 2013 “San Saba” Pinot. This was an extremely bold, spicy wine, which is why I love Pinot. Moments of nutmeg made several appearances, while the berries and cherries lingered. It was a gorgeous red and really showcases how well Pinot Noir thrives in the area.
As our flight drew closer to an end, Ruth suggested that we give a 2011 dessert wine, Moscato, a whirl. Me? A dessert wine? Not usually my forte, but, I took her word and accepted a glass. Mikes first opinion was that, it was not at all sweet, and I know what he means; for a “dessert wine”, it truly is mellow, with a very strong presence of honey, without being as thick as a traditional dessert wine.
Wrath continues to be one of my top favorite wines, check them out HERE.
On Sunday, as we transitioned from The Hofsas House to Holman Ranch, we decided to stop into Alexander Smith by Paraiso….possibly because I was already at their neighbors shop….the candy store 😉 Alexander Smith has a tag line I love: “Life is short, let us help you enjoy the ride!” this motto definitely reflects in their gorgeous wines, which are made by Paraiso Vineyards located in the Santa Lucia Highlands, since 1973.
Starting off with their 2014 Riesling, this bottle had intense notes citrus and lime, I immediately had trouble determining if this was an oak or steel production…guess what? I was right with both. This is made with both and if you know wine at all, you will be able to spot this easily.
Out of the Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir’s, Syrah and Muscat, I think my favorite was the Alexander Smith Syrah Clone Estrella. Strong taste of jam, spice and dark berries, this Syrah took me to a mountain cabin on a cold night, enjoying a glass with a hearty meal.
With so much wine and so little time, The Carmel by-the-sea Wine Walk Passport is an absolute must next time you find yourself in town. Learn more HERE.
(*Disclosure: I was provided with Wine Walk passports on behalf of this feature. All opinions are my own.)