|Best Western Beach Resort|
We had planned on doing some wine tasting on the way up, but really didn't see any tasting rooms along our route. We later found out that the few wineries that had tasting rooms at their vineyard, were fairly well spread out. Since we arrived so early, we drove to Fisherman's Wharf for a bowl of clam chowder, and a bottle of Ventana Chardonnay.
Our group consisted of 23 friends, wine club members, and their guests. I had been planning the trip for about six months, and arranged a tour for the entire group on Saturday, and researched the best restaurants in the area for dinner arrangements. Reservations were made months in advance, and the first test of the trip was dinner at Montrio Bistro (a converted fire station). The service, atmosphere and food met all expectations. The only drawback was how loud the place got, and with a large group, I missed out on the conversations at the other end of the table...but not their wine! Most of us ordered local wines. The hits of the evening were the Morgan Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir, and the Bernardus "Marinus" Carmel Valley Bordeaux Blend.
|Evan talking about artichokes|
|Jim. Joel, Marilyn|
|Hahn Tasting Room|
|Cork tree at Paraiso|
Our last stop was at Ventana Vineyards, in the Arroyo Seco AVA. When we arrive, there were a number of other people in the small tasting room, but the tasting room staff handed us glasses, and started pouring...and pouring...and pouring. Unlike the previous three wineries, who specialized in certain grape varieties, I felt like Ventana was all over the place. We tried Reisling, Gewurtztraminer, Chardonnay. Orange Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, Blends, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tempranillo. After a group shot in front of the barrels, we headed out to the vineyard, and tasted the ripe Tempranillo, Muscat, and Chardonnay grapes.
|Group shot at Ventana|
Friday through Saturday, we explored the foods and wines of Monterey/Carmel. Only one negative, and a bunch of positives. Check in for next weeks blog, for the adventures on Sunday and Monday, with a much smaller group. Sunday was the day for surprises.