One of the great things for a wine lover is to be in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Carmel Valley is just on the other side of the highway and that means wine and food, of course that is also true in Carmel. On one of our many driving trips into the valley to discover wineries we discovered little towns and shopping and even worked up an appetite.
One of the places that we had lunch was at Rio Grill, which was located at The Crossroads, a charming outdoor mall and when we were there, there were a couple of fine men’s shops that I had to wander around in, and there were also a couple ladies shops, not to mention a luggage shop, and I only mention this, because on this particular trip we had bought so much, we had to buy a monster rolling suitcase to pack all the additional items that we had to take back. I do digress at times, and since we had worked up an appetite, we went into the Rio Grill for lunch, looking for something to hold us over until our dinner reservations that evening. This restaurant not only had a nice selection of wines, but quite a varied selection of dishes to choose from as well. My Bride is always sensible, especially at lunch and ordered a salad with beans, black eyed peas and an avocado dressing, and I naturally went for something light as well; I ordered grilled prawns. We were so good about having something light for lunch; we even shared a wonderful chocolate flan afterwards.
The wine list was very extensive for this venue and it leaned heavily into the local wineries of the area, and I think rightfully so. We have visited a couple of the same wineries each time we have gone to Carmel, and we had a bottle of wine that we had just tasted the day before at Chateau Julien, which is a charming place to visit if you get a chance to go there. We enjoyed a bottle of Chateau Julien Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2001 that was more buttery and oakey, rather then a crisp Chardonnay that is usually encountered in this area. Evidently not all of the fruit came from their estate as it is designated Monterey County, rather then Carmel Valley and it was still a great bottle of wine. There is just something grand about being in wine country.