What could be better than tasting good wines while sampling good food with good people on a beautiful day in a beautiful setting? The simple answer, is not much.
In the beautiful hamlet of Carmel by the sea, with some great local chefs serving small bites complemented by Monterey Wines make the 'Monterey Wines 25th Winemaker Celebration' a very enjoyable event. This is one of Monterey’s premier wine events. The event showcases both the established and small production wineries of Monterey County and its sub-appellations, including Arroyo Seco, Carmel Valley, Chalone, Hames Valley, Monterey, San Antonio Valley, and Santa Lucia Highlands.
This year we were privileged to be given complimentary VIP passes from Monterey Wines. As VIP's we gained early access at 12:00 noon for a more intimate experience by being some of the first in. New to this year's VIP experience was valet parking. Valet parking was a wonderful addition to the experience and a real classy touch. Another classy touch is the availability to get a designated driver ticket and because of all the great small bites not a bad event for the non drinkers and those that sacrifice for the good of the team.
Traffic was light and the easy convenient VIP parking meant we were way early and so a stop in to visit the lovely ladies at Caraccioli Cellars for a starter glass of bubbles was in order. As we sipped our bubbles we watched as the last of the setting up was completed.
Having attended this even a number of times there were no great surprises (a good thing). The wines and food are always satisfying and the event well run. This year we made an extra effort to taste all the whites and not get drawn in too early on the reds and miss some good white wine experiences. After all there are a ton of different ones to taste. Monterey has 53 different wine grape varieties, 30 of which have more than 20 acres of vineyards per varietal. Chardonnay (40%) and Pinot Noir (15%) are the two largest wine grape varietals grown in Monterey County and there are some world class ones made here.
On the food side there were a lot of options but a couple of our favorites (we like simple foods) were the pork belly and beans from La Balena in Carmel and a Salmon and wild rice from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Oh and the potatoe chips from 400deg Burger. On the dessert side, the cannoli's from Little Napoli right there on Delores and the Mini Bunt cakes from Nothing Bunt Cakes were lip smacking good!
Tasted a number of good wines, really good wines. Finding some that stand out would be easier if the event was not so much fun. With that being said a couple of the wines that stood out. On the white side there were -
Caraccioli Cellars Brut Cuvee - Joyce Vineyards Albarino and Dry Reisling - Scratch Wines Dry Reisling - Odonata Wines Sparkling Rose - Blair Chardonnay - Manzoni Wines Chardonnay and Wrath Wines Sauvignon Blanc.
On the red side Wrath Wines San Saba Pinot Noir - Manzoni Wines Syrah - Scrath Wines Grenache and the most amazing breakfast drink was a breakfast bloody Mary to get one through the day from Mulligans Public House. These are just a few of the wonderful wines we tasted.
Against what the weather reports had predicted it was a spectacular day, and we thank Monterey Wines for giving us the hook up. We look forward to this event every year as somehow it just seems to get better. The Monterey Wines 25th Winemaker Celebration was truly a celebration of wonderful Monterey Wine and Food and an event not to miss.
Happy Wine Adventures,