Jun 2, 2014

Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea Tasting Rooms 9-12

We know you have read all about the Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea in a previous article and are just waiting to read about the all the tasting rooms prior to purchasing your Passport (purchase here) and planning your own personal Carmel Wine Walk.by-the-Sea.

In numerical order off the list we rolled up our sleeves and put our big boy pants on (don't drink without pants) and set about getting the scoop. We had started at the top of the list at number one and  this is numbers 9-12. Here are the links to 5-8 and to 1-4.

A Wine Tasting Passport, that for $65 entitles the buyer to one $10 flight at any nine of the twelve tasting rooms who are part of this experience (a $90 value). It can be used in one day (big day, we're up to try) or spread out over a weekend (easy peasy), several weeks, months, or even years, as the tastings never expire.

In the next two quaint little tasting room's you get a double opportunity. To taste the wine of two small family owned wineries in this single space. Tasting rooms 9 and 10 occupy a single roomy space with two entry doors.

9. Blair Estate

Blair Estate is a small family owned producer that farm the Arroyo Seco district in Monterey County. For five generations their family has lived and farmed here. They are proud to share the wines they produce from this unique area said Jeffrey Blair. On a family property that goes back to the 1920's Jeff Planted Delfina’s Vineyard in 2007 and considers it the very heart and soul of the Blair Estates’ label. Named after their matriarch and beloved grandmother. Today, Delfina’s Vineyard and the Blair Estate is planted to just over five acres of Pinot Noir, almost two acres of Chardonnay, and one block of Muscat. The “micro” nature of the project allows complete and total quality control from the vineyard to the bottling line and what Jeff calls truly artisan, limited releases of Blair Pinot Noir. A fun place as Jeff or his brother are almost always the ones pouring and so stories of the area and wines abound.

10. Shale Canyon

Their motto at Shale Canyon is 'If you are looking for quality, small lot, hand crafted wines, then look no further'. With production at 1200 cases they are quite small. The wine style is a little more warm climate as they farm in the Arroyo Seco AVA. Their wines are 100% barrel aged but they only use 20-30% new French oak so as not to overpower the wine. This again is a small family run winery and the vineyards are farmed using the SIP philosophy although they have not gone through final certification just yet. They are also 100% off the grid solar powered and very proud of it. With Chardonnay, Syrah's, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon to taste there is sure to be something for everyone.

11. Wrath

For a winery with such an awarded line of wines it is a surprise to learn that they are a truly small batch operation. The tasting room is well appointed and has a classy feel and yet is inviting and very comfortable. Fully SIP Certified and producing wines in 150-200 case lots this is wine that is 60% Estate and 40% hand selected vineyards. With your passport you get to try 4 of any of their 10-12 wines open on any given day. Tasting out of classy, beautiful and wine worthy glassware just enhances an already lovely experience. They even change the glassware for side by side comparing. Class act! The staff is very well educated on the wines and the vineyards and this makes for an added bonus, having great conversation about wine and wine style and the different vineyards and wine making practices. They offer a great cheese plate that was voted 'Best cheese plate in Monterey County'. Highly awarded wines with knowledgeable and friendly staff in a classy environment this is one tasting room to put high on your list.

12. De Tierra

If you have been paying attention you will have noticed a theme with most of these wineries. They are family owned and De Tierra is no exception. With 85% of their wines Estate grown and the other 15% with good friends. We had the pleasure of Anna Russell leading us through a tasting and telling us of the philosophy of the Family owned and operated De Tierra Vineyards. One example was the Russell Estate Vineyard. The grapes grown at the Russell Estate Vineyard are 100% Organic and sustainable practices are used in the farming. The Russell Estate Vineyards uses owl hutches, ladybugs and lavender to manage pests, while avoiding herbicides and fertilizer when possible through the use of cover crops, netting and fencing. This vineyard is run entirely on solar energy, and hand farming practices are used whenever possible. This carries over into the tasting room. This is a really cool tasting room and once Anna pointed out and explained some of the unique things they had done to bring the sustainable into this comfy place it took on even more significance. Simple things like the chalkboard that serves as a tasting flight information board or to announce specials so they don't have to print those things up. Brilliant and looks really cool. Comfortable, friendly and down to earth (pun intended) this is a great spot for a great taste.

There you have it. We have tasted at all of the Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea tasting rooms. We Really enjoyed the process and will be returning to stay up to date on all the new releases. The difficulty will be finding your favorites. We hope that by reading our experiences it will help guide you in a direction, but no matter which ones you choose just know it will be good to great.
We have also heard that there are some more tasting rooms already signed up for the program and so we will be hunting them down soon to let you know whats coming and hopefully get a look a a couple restaurants. Hey we signed up for all this hard work.

Go and enjoy what these lovely tasting rooms have to offer and as well as the quaint beauty of this sea side hamlet as you create your own Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea.

Happy Wine Adventures,

Kiwi & Koala

Just a thought. If you buy two passes you can share a couple and visit all these worthy tasting rooms! Brilliant!

Tasting Rooms 1-4
Tasting Rooms 5-8

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We are always on a WineWalkabout looking for a good drop. Please comment and ask questions about the things you like or would like to read and see. Don't drink without pants on!