Monterey Wine Country

About an hour to an hour and a half South of San Francisco lay beautiful Monterey County.  Famous for its coastline, golf courses & amazing aquarium, Monterey County is also home to a budding wine country, with 40,000 acres of vines planted.

Last week I attended a press event put together by the Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association. It was a small, simple & very elegant event at the Manhattan Penthouse, a nice spot near Union Square.  The focus of the event was Pinot Noir & Chardonnay from about 12-15 Monterey producers, with representatives from four wineries who presented one of their Pinot Noirs.

The event was very well organized and I must admit that I was quite impressed with most of the wines.  I mentioned in a recent post that Monterey Pinot’s impressed me at the Wine Enthusiast event.  This reaffirmed my recent change of heart regarding California Pinot – at least in the case of Monterey.

Among the standouts were the 2006 “Hat Trick” Pinot by Morgan winery that had an interesting menthol/eucalyptus thing going on (but retails for about $50).  A 2006 Carmel Road Monterey Pinot that had very nice structure with subtle fruit & nice minerality (retailing for a reasonable $20).  And a Michaud 2004 Chalone Pinot that had a pretty floral/violet nose with soft and subtle fruit and a very elegant structure.

But rather than getting into too much detail about the wines, which again, were all quite good, I simply want to point out the existence of Monterey, their Vintners & growers association, and their ability to work together to promote the region.  The event was well attended & represented.  The press packets included maps, fact sheets, videos, and just about anything one needs to learn more about the region.  This was a great example of a wine region whose existence is not universally known, but that is doing everything it can to work together to make its existence known.

So go out this Memorial day and ask your wine shop clerk if he has a nice Monterey County Pinot.  And if the answer is no, suggest they look into carrying one.

Happy Memorial Day Wine Tasting!


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