Hi friends and fellow wine drinkers! I hope the latter part of 2015 treated you right. Mine was packed full of developments and BIG CHANGES! All for the best but very all consuming for the past few months. Alas, here we are on the first day of 2016 and my new residence is in none other than sunny, wine filled California!!! So much wine. We have re-located from Chicago to the Monterey Peninsula. Gabe and I arrived in early December and our movers finally showed up with our worldly possessions around the middle of the month, I started a new job and then it was the holidays and visitors and wine tasting...oh my. We are happy and obviously still getting adjusted but for the blog alone, this change is monumental. We have already done some tasting in the area, which you will hear about NOW.
Very close to us lies the charming community of Carmel-by-the Sea, founded as an artists colony in the early 1900's. It is dreamy. Many adorable little houses with Harry Potter style thatched roofs and gardens that passersby can peer into and imagine an idyllic afternoon. There are a series of pedestrian allies that lead down narrow walk ways and open into magical courtyards with galleries, shops, patisseries. It is so my bag. I love everything about it, save the crowds. And in said setting of reverie, are tasting rooms a plenty! We got a tip from a friend that the Scheid Vineyards Tasting Room has it going on, so after taking in the beach, some shops and a seafood heavy lunch, off we went.
The Scheid Tasting room resides at the corner of San Carlos and 7th, just a block off the main drag, Ocean Ave. They have another one in the vineyards, about an hour's drive away, which I cannot wait to explore! This met our needs perfectly as we had some friends visiting from Los Angeles with their young child so Carmel-by-the-Sea offered a little something for everyone. I should note also that the tasting rooms and most businesses are very welcoming of dogs. Come one, come all!
The wine is so good. We all found it to be delightful. Scheid produces 10,000 cases per year and in 32 varietals! That is intriguing to me, to have such a small production with so much diversity. We're talking Grüner Veltliner, Gewurtz, Albariño and Tannat! They embrace it all. They sell most of their grapes to other producers in the area making their wine production only a very small percentage of what they actually grow. They focus on quality and it is reflected in the wine. You can choose a tasting flight of white, red or a mix. We also experienced outstanding customer service. No pretentious wine-splaining, just pure enjoyment and enthusiasm for the good juice.
Sweet lil' Carmel-by-the-Sea....
My picks at Scheid (so hard because it was all good!):
2014 Grüner Veltliner. I always love a good Grüner. Retailing at $22 per bottle, this wine is zesty with all that desirable citrus and some flakes of flint on the palate rounded out with invigorating lime squirts. It is so fresh and so clean.
2012 50/50. This wine is Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah in equal proportions, combining fruit from 4 different vineyards. Aged 18 months in French, American and Hungarian (!) oak. The grandeur of the Cab is softened by the berries of the Syrah, yielding to the strength of the Cab while bringing in some spunk. As Jen commented, "This tastes like California to me". Spot on. Her comment and the wine. Retailing at $28, this wine would pair well with sturdy foods, or on its own after an arduous day of sight-seeing on the Monterey Peninsula...I digress. Often.
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. It is California after all. This wine is made of cold-pressed (not just for coffee) grapes, imparting a more concentrated flavor. And then there is the 2.5 years on American and Hungarian oak. This wine is intensity. Notes of cacao and berries with some herbal greenery to bring it home. The tannins are perfectly present, not too overpowering but enough to give it that sumptuous and structured mouthfeel. Drink it now or age it. You really can't lose.
So far, we like it here. A lot.
Happy New Year to ALL! Here's to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016!