Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The 13th Annual Monterey Great Wine Escape weekend ends with a Finale like none other.

The newly opened InterContinental Hotel located right in the middle of Cannery Row was the site for the Grand Finale Tasting, and what a way to end our education of the diversity of Monterey County.

Thirty wineries , many well known and others just starting out combined with over a dozen of the areas top restaurants and their chefs for a wine and foodie dream to end the weekend.

Scott from VINO LAS VEGAS spoke with Rhonda Motil , Executive Director of the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association at the finale and recapped the weekend journey through this very diverse and important county.

In addition to sampling food and wine from this one of a kind region Vino Las Vegas had the distinct privilege of meeting an American legend, Phil Woodward.

Phil Woodward and Richard Graff helped make world wine making history at the Paris tasting of 1976. One of the California wines that turned the wine world on its ear was Chalone Chardonnay 1974 which placed third behind Meursault Charmes Roulot 1973 from France and of course Chateau Montelena 1973. Woodward and Graff founded Chalone and helped get California wines world wine recognition. We spoke with Phil about that historic occasion in 1976 and about his new project at Graff Winery and his foundation.

1976 Judgement of Paris Results.
Rank Grade Wine Vintage Origin

1. Chateau Montelena 1973 United States
2. Meursault Charmes Roulot 1973 France
3. Chalone Vineyard 1974 United States
4. Spring Mountain Vineyard 1973 United States
5. Beaune Clos des Mouches Joseph Drouhin 1973 France
6. Freemark Abbey Winery 1972 United States
7. Batard-Montrachet Ramonet-Prudhon 1973 France
8. Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles Domaine Leflaive 1972 France
9. Veedercrest Vineyards 1972 United States
10. David Bruce Winery 1973 United States

From our base at The Monterey Bay Inn on Cannery Row we explored Monterey county where over 200 years ago, the Franciscan friars planted the region’s first wine grapes near the Soledad Mission.

Not until the 1960s, did the modern-era in Monterey viticulture begin. Pioneering growers and vintners like Mirassou and Wente were the first in, soon followed by many others. Today, Monterey County boasts over 175 unique vineyards, planted to over 50 different grape varieties.

Our journey did not just include wine but also took us to the fields of the Salinas Valley and a visit to D'Arrigo Brothers who for generations have grown and harvested
our nations vegetables. And of course you cannot mention this area with out mentioning John Steinbeck in the same breath.

Monterey County is the most unique area of the United Sates we have had the pleasure of exploring. The beauty of Monterey Bay , the history of Steinbeck , Carmel Valley coming into its own , Cannery Row , The Farms of the Salinas Valley and certainly great Food and Wine provide visitors and guests with a plethora of magnificent choices when you visit. For more information on Monterey Bay please visit

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Elaine and Scott

Elaine and Scott
Elaine and Scott