Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Carmel Wine Walk-by-the-Sea Tasting Room Tour - Part 2

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This is Part 2 of a self-guided tour of the wine rooms listed on Carmel's Wine Tasting Passport.  The current cost of the Passport is $65.00 which entitles the buyer to one $10 flight of wine at nine of the fourteen tasting rooms listed on the passport. Seven of the wine rooms are described in Part 1 as well as all of the rules, regulations, and use of the Passport. 


Except for Scheid, the last seven wine rooms described in this blog post comprise the largest concentration of wine rooms in Carmel.

Of the fourteen wine rooms on the Passport, eight are located in one downtown city block.  Not that Carmel-by-the-Sea is proud of this.  It just happens to be how things worked out.  We now have laws on the books making this impossible to happen again.

Personally I am not worried about too many wine rooms.  I enjoy each one of them for what they offer.  And frankly it is all about supply and demand. Eventually things will shake out as they should.  In the meantime here are the last seven wine rooms on the Carmel Wine Passport.  


NE Corner of Dolores and Seventh
831/626-2032 




Vino Napoli is located in the historic El Paseo building.  Built in 1928 this was part of a trilogy of Spanish style commercial buildings designed by the architectural firm Blaine & Olsen between 1927 and 1929. The other two are the Kocher building home to La Bicyclette, and La Ribera building home to the Cypress Inn.  



Vino Napoli is the largest tasting room in town with over 1,000 square feet it features two flat screen TV’s (baseball, soccer, football), and a half dozen café style tables some placed on top of wine barrels.


There is also a cozy fireplace
for when the fog rolls in just at
cocktail hour during our summer months.   


Vino Napoli is also considered a wine bar, which means if you would rather just enjoy a 6 ounce glass of wine with friends - by all means this is the place.  


They also offer a really nice selection of light appetizers. These are shown on the chalk board and change periodically.    

Today's selection were the "lollipops" that we love to order at Vesuvio's roof-top (another one of the Pèpe family of restaurants) 


The wines featured at Vino Napoli are selected from partners and close friends of the Pèpe family such as Antica, Antinori, Silvestri, Bernardus, and Galante. I am sensing an Italian theme.  


In 2001 the Pèpe family offered their first vintage and today they are proud to offer a selection of four different wines from current vintages.  Try Pèpe Vesuvio a blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah or Pèpe 100% Chardonnay. Must be over 21 to enter... 


...Unless you are furry and well groomed! 


Silvestri Vineyards Tasting Room
7th Avenue between Dolores and San Carlos 
831/625-0111


In 1989, after a successful career as a music composer, writing over 100 scores for film, Alan Silvestri moved his family of five from Los Angeles to the Carmel Valley.


In the spring of 2000 Alan and his wife Sandra began a new adventure.  They planted three varieties of grapes on their ten plus acres in Carmel Valley.



Their first harvest of 100% estate grown grapes of the Silvestri Vineyards was in the Fall of 2003.   

Silvestri Vineyards wine room is located in the historic Enchanted Oaks building which began life as a garage in 1920.  In 1927 it was expanded in to the small Tudor Revival commercial building you see today. 

The wine room is decorated with movie posters for which Alan wrote the score and is located just east of Vino Napoli on Seventh.   


As passionate about his wine as he is about his music Alan says, "There's something about the elemental side of wine making that appeals to me. Both music making and wine making involve the blending of art and science.  Just as each note brings its own voice to the melody, each vine brings its own unique personality to the wine.” 



Visit Silvestri Tasting Room and enjoy some of their current vintages which include: a 2012 Pinot Gris with hints of pear, kiwi and lemon lime, 2012 Pinot Blanc with hints of honeysuckle and cantaloupe, 2010 Chardonnay “Bella Sandra” with hints of honey, green apple and vanilla, and 2009 Pinot Noir “Rising Tide” with hints of blackberry.



NW Corner 7th and San Carlos
(831) 659-2649



Dawn Galante, wife of Galante Vineyard's Jack Galante, opened Dawn’sDream Tasting Room in February 2014.  




 You will find Dawn’s Dream behind Thinker Toys in the Plaza San Carlos NW Corner of Seventh and San Carlos - just east of Silvestri. 


White’s poured are a Chardonnay and Savignon Blanc.  Also try the "Trilogy of Sisters," three Pinot's named after Dawn's daughters: Pinot Alyssa which has hints of persimmons and vanilla, Pinot Nicole, with hints of brown sugar and gooseberries, and Pinot Rachael with hints of maple, cedar and tea roses. 




There always seems to be some event going on at Dawn's. 



 Even your pets are welcome,

 


   so come on by



they are always pouring. 



San Carlos and 7th
831/ 656 - 9463




It is said, a great wine begins in the vineyard.  Al Scheid 
knew this to be true, which is why in 1971 he purchased acreage in Monterey County based on the advice of Professor A. J. Winkler of the University of California at Davis.  Winkler, a professor of Viticulture and Enology (the cultivation of grapes and science of wine making) determined Monterey County comparable to Napa, Sonoma, Burgundy and Bordeaux.  Who knew?


Scheid also believed that in order to grow the highest quality wine grapes one had to adhere to the three E's of sustainability; environmentally sough practices, social Equity, and Economic viability.  Scheid, also a SIP Certified vineyard, now has ten estate vineyards (over 5,000 acres) located along a 70-mile spread of the Salinas Valley where they grow their 38 different varietals.   



Why the screwtops?  After doing their homework, Scheid reached two important conclusions: First screw cap closures were never negative in terms of wine quality and were often positive and second, no matter what efforts were undertaken, TCA (2,4,6-trichloranisole) would probably infect a certain percentage of cork closure wines forever.  

The decision to use screw caps wasn't that they are cheaper to buy, or easier to produce, or even prettier.  The "Knights of the Scheid Table" took an oath of honor in 2009 and pledged to go 100% screw cap, why? Because the Knights determined that they were “just better.  And at the end of the day, isn't that what matters most?” 


Scheid tasting room is located one block south of Ocean Avenue at the entrance to Bell Tower Court at San Carlos and Seventh.
Voted Best Tasting Room by the Carmel Pine Cone in 2013, Scheid tasting room in Carmel can also be reserved for different venues.  



They can accommodate a maximum of 40 guests for a reception style gathering, 30 guests for a sit-down dinner, or 26 guests in a classroom setting. 



Paseo Courtyard
San Carlos between Ocean and 7th
831/620-6541 




The Manzoni family has lived and farmed in the Santa Lucia Highlands since the 1930s.  Initially in the dairy business which evolved to crop farming and finally into wine  making when the family converted six acres of land into vine rootstock in the 1990s. 


Manzoni Vineyards' small estate vineyard, produces just 2000 cases of wine a year. With their wines continually scoring 90+ points, it is clear that they strive for quality not quantity.  


Manzoni Cellars Pinot Noir won a gold medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and their Syrah double gold at the San Diego International Wine Competition. 


Their boutique wine room complete with massive antique bar is located in The Paseo Courtyard on San Carlos between Ocean and Seventh, across from Basil Carmel


Manzoni Vineyards specializes in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Syrah.  Stop by their wine room and your host will most likely be managing partner Mark Manzoni himself or Ms. Vina who really runs the place, here she is posing perfectly coiffed in front of her antique bar. 

   Blair Estate and Shale Canyon Wines 
The Paseo Courtyard
San Carlos between Ocean and Seventh 

831/625-WINE  

Blair Estate and Shale Canyon share a wine room at the back of The Paseo Courtyard on San Carlos behind Manzoni and across from Basil.  
In 2007 Jeffrey Blair planted the first Pinot Noir grapes on his beloved grandmother Delfina's property in the Arroyo Seco Appellations.


Their debut release produced 258 cases of Blair Estate 2010 Pinot Noir Delfina’s Vineyard.  In the glass this inaugural Pinot Noir displays a hint of rose petal, anise, and spice combined with Bing cherry and strawberry. 


With the success of such a fine Pinot from the Arroyo Seco Appellations, Blair Estate decided to expand their varietals.  In 2012, they purchased fruit from two neighboring vineyards, Meador Estate and Roger Rose.  


In 2013 they released their Blair Estate 2012 Pinot Gris Meador Vineyard which received 90 Points and "Editors' Choice" from Wine Enthusiast Magazine and 


Blair Estate 2012 Chardonnay Roger Rose Vineyard which received 90 Points and a Gold Medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.  


Sixth-generation Salinas Valley brothers, Jake, Keith and Tim Prader, planted Shale Canyon vineyard with a number of red varietals in 2008.  The vineyard is on such isolated property in the upper portion of the Arroyo Seco Canyon, that production is run totally off the grid with a propane stove and well pump powered by a photovoltaic cell system (solar).   



Shale Canyon specializes in small lots of hand crafted varietals of Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah, Malbec, Mourvedre, and Zinfandel. 

Shale Canyon supplements their wine production with grapes purchased from a number of areas.  Chardonnay, Syrah and Merlot come from vineyards in the Arroyo Seco.  Zinfandel from Dry Creek in Healdsburg and Cabernet from San Benito County.   


A stop by the joint wine room of Blair Estate and Shale Canyon will probably find proprietors Tim Prader or Jeffrey Blair pouring varietals (Tim and Jeffrey shown below at the Carmel-by-the-Glass 2013 presented by Rich Ppèpe of Vino Napoli in Devendorf Park).    


That is it for this review - it is clear, if you are looking for a wine experience, Carmel has the best deal! Wine Passport $65 and an option to wine taste at 9 of 14 wine rooms within literally a few city blocks.  Drink responsibly by staying in one of our hotels and walking to all our wine rooms. Remember, currently the Passport has no expiration.  

Thanks for visiting.  Until next time, Happy Adventures!

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Photography - L. A. Momboisse
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