Tag Archives: pinot noir

Bernardus Winery

logo Out in Carmel Valley is  a cluster of tasty tasty wines produced by some of the friendliest wineries I have been to.  Take a drive down Carmel Vally Road and you will see wineries left and right, one of which is Bernardus Winery.  If you have a group with different wine preferences, or you just love all wine, as I do; Bernardus is a winery that has an impressive range of well crafted wines.  They have Chardonnays, Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, a Bordeaux blend, and many others.

The tasting room is large with ample counter space to accommodate the crowds that visit on the weekends.  When visiting the tasting room, I recommend going in pairs so that both tasting menus can be enjoyed (the Bernardus Tasting and the Mr. Pon’s Reserve Tasting).  My particular favorites from Bernardus are: 2008 Monterey County Sauvignon Blanc, 2005 Ingrid’s Chardonnay, 2006 Tondre Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2002 Marinus and 2003 Reserve Marinus.

2008 Montery County Sauvignon Blanc – This Sav Blanc is exactally what I look for in a “summer wine”.  It is light, fruity, and fresh while retaining a full flavor and distinct characteristic.  When drinking this wine I am reminded of green apple, pear, and fresh cut grass.  Simply put, this wine tastes like summer.

2006 Tondre Vineyard Pinot Noir – While there are a few Pinots to taste at Bernardus, this one is my favorite because it has the biggest character.  It is not over the top in fruit, which I frankly cannot stand, but has its fruit balanced with a dose of tannins that make this wine a complex character.  Tasting this wine gives flavors of blackberry and light plum while the nose speaks of slight oak and earth.  It may sound like a heavier red wine, but this wine takes the heavier flavors and floats them on a bed of fruit across your tongue.

2003 Reserve Marinus – This is the wine that we jokingly call the “everyday wine”.  It is so good that I wish I could drink it every day, but I think that my teeth would be forever purple if I did that.  This is a bordeaux like blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (86%), Merlot (12%), and Cabernet Franc (2%).  This is a wine that is so dark red it looks opaque in the glass; with flavors of black cherry and hints of tobacco it seems to coat your tongue in a rich, dark flavor.

If you are making a trip into Carmel Valley, this is the winery that you must stop by; just tell Chris or Phillip that I sent you!  While you are in the area, there are many other wonderful wineries to taste at: Talbott, Boekenogan, and Chateau Julien to name a few of my favorite haunts.  Maybe someday I will encounter a reader at a tasting room.  Hey, anything is possible, right?

Calera Wine Co.

The same day that we went tasting at Pietra Santa Winery, we also stopped at Calera Wine Co.  This winery is located a little further down Cienega Road and has a very utilitarian look to it; the tasting room is in a warehouse.  We arrived there at about 4pm and the couple that arrived before us were just leaving, so in contrast to the crowd at Pietra Santa, we had the tasting to ourselves.  The tasting room attendant was very knowledgeable about the wine, the history of the vineyard, and very friendly.  They make mostly Pinot Noir at this winery, but they have a few Viognier, Chardonnay and one dessert Viognier.  There are 2 wines that I remember as being exceptional; both are Pinot Noir, which this winery has become famous for.

mills vineyard2004 Selleck Vineyard Pinot Noir and the 2004 Mills Vineyard Pinot Noir were both very similar in taste to an untrained Pinot palate like mine.  These Pinots are not your typical California variety, these are more similar to the ones that you would get from Burgundy.  I thought that the Mills Vineyard one was a little fuller in body that the Selleck Vineyard, but both had a lighter flavor and a clean and slightly dry finish.  They did not taste watery, as some Pinots do.  We picked up a bottle of the Mills Vineyard Pinot Noir, and I will be going back to this winery to get some  more of their wonderful wine in my “cellar”.