Saturday, December 26, 2009

Vino Las Vegas begins a journey through Monterey County , Its AVAs , History and Agriculture

Vino Las Vegas has traveled extensively and brought our readers along with us. In almost every occasion , we have concentrated on the Wine and Food aspects of the city we were in.

Recently we had the pleasure and honor of being invited to spend four days in Monterey County and discover not only the wine and food of the area but its history , attractions , and agriculture. They call this living the "Monterey Food and Wine Lifestyle". We could not agree more. The journey begins !

Monterey County highlights everything that's best about California. From the seaside restaurants to the Salinas Valley's hillside vineyards, to Pebble Beach's perfectly groomed golf courses. It has a life style that is just waiting to be explored.

Throughout the county, the story of Monterey's rich heritage comes alive in its gardens, missions, and lighthouses. It is the most historic city in California, and the the area continues to enthrall writers, artists and of course guests.

In 1945 author John Steinbeck immortalized the one mile stretch that was Ocean View Avenue in Monterey with his book ‘Cannery Row.’ The notoriety of Steinbeck’s book focused so much attention on the street that in 1953 the city of Monterey formally changed the street name to Cannery Row. Cannery Row is now one of America's top visitor destinations, attracting approximately four million people each year.

Today, visitors to Cannery Row can learn about the past, enjoy the present, and marvel at how this street has been transformed into one of the world's most beautiful waterfront destinations.

While on the road we enjoy boutique hotels. On this visit we chose the Monterey Bay Inn as our " base of operations ". The Monterey Bay Inn is a luxury hotel located on Cannery Row and within walking distance to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and they many restaurants on cannery row.

This lovely hotel offered us a relaxing sanctuary overlooking the Monterey Bay. With 49 spacious guestrooms, luxury amenities, plush bedding, and a complimentary deluxe continental breakfast delivered to our room , we could not help but open the patio door and step outside to savor the ocean aromas.

We have very busy days planned so enjoying a hearty breakfast including bagels, fresh baked breads, muffins, seasonal fruit, cereal, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, juices, tea and local coffee from the Carmel Valley Coffee Roasting Company was a great way to start each day.
Of course a welcome gift of Ventana wines and chocolate was not a bad way to get our 4 day exploration of Monterey County started either.

Our room was decorated in soft marine-inspired hues of blue, green and brown and included deluxe feather bedding. We even found binoculars for viewing sea otters, birds, and other marine life in the room as well . The marble and granite bathrooms and stunning ocean views make this hotel a new favorite.

Vintners Reserve Opening Reception

We began our exploration of Monterey County's world class wines , culinary delights and scenic beauty at a private sunset Vintners Reserve Reception hosted by Scott Scheid of Schneid Vineyards in their tasting room on Cannery Row. Rhonda Motil , Executive Director MCVGA was a co-host and revealed to us the itinerary of our 4 day journey though the county.

The food and wine pairings created by Executive Chef Jerry Regester , The InterContinental Hotel showed off many of the great wines and food of the bountiful Monterey area and were right on.

The Scheid Vineyards Wine Lounge is located just a block from the Monterey Aquarium on cannery row. The 2,000-square-foot lounge features coffered ceilings, recycled hickory floors, and a rustic Carmel Valley stone fireplace, a perfect environment for tasting these great wines wines.

Over the past 36 Years, Scheid Vineyards has grown into one of California's largest independent producers of premium wine grapes, and a maker of distinctive wines that bear the Scheid name.
Located in Monterey County, they grow seventeen wine grape varieties on twelve diverse vineyard properties covering a span of 70 miles north to south.

The diverse vineyards enable them to grow many different varieties and clones in a variety of styles. From cool climate Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling in the north, to Syrah, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc in the central Monterey County locations, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot in the warmer south.

They have ten separate estate vineyards covering more than 70 miles, offering an array of soils, microclimates, and sub-appellations. Each of their wines are handcrafted, using the best of new technology combined with traditional methods to showcase the varietal character of the grapes, the individuality of each vineyard, and the world class quality of the Monterey Viticultural Appellation. Less than two percent of Scheid's grapes are selected for its label.


This reception was about showing off a few of the many wineries in the Monterey County AVAs. Morgan wines are very well known.
Their Double L Vineyard is in the northern section of the Santa Lucia Highlands sub-appellation of Monterey. This organically farmed site has 45 acres currently producing fine Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah.We enjoyed the opportunity to sample all of them and were impressed with their complexity and well represented the variety and terrior appropriately.

Estancia wines are known nation wide . Roughly translated from the Spanish word for “estate,” Estancia’s name emphasizes their founder, Augustin Huneeus' conviction that the world’s best wines capture the essence of their place of origin. In
1999 they branched out further from their home in Monterey County and acquired almost 700 acres in Paso Robles as the vineyard base for Estancia Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Red Meritage.

The Bernardus estate vineyards of Marinus and Featherbow Ranch are located in the Cachagua region of the Carmel Valley. Carmel Valley is a relatively new but up and coming AVA .

Of the 220 acres, 50 acres have been planted to vineyards of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Sauvignon Blanc. B. Their Marinus Estate Bordeaux-style red wine is the centerpiece of Owner Ben Pon's dream. It is complemented by Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc from cool coastal climate vineyards. In addition they also offer limited bottlings of small production and vineyard designate wines, which are available exclusively through their tasting room and wine club.

In addition to the "big names " we had the pleasure of sampling wines from Ludwig Winery. They specializes in northern European varietals. and currently offer two vineyard designated Rieslings and a Gewurztraminer. Once again, growing these cold climate European varietals as well as the many other varietals in Monterey County show all is vast diversity.
If this reception is just a small sampling of what the next 3 days will be like , we waited with anticipation.

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Elaine and Scott

Elaine and Scott
Elaine and Scott