The last of the three wines that I unpacked from the latest wine club shipment from A Taste of Monterey. One day, I will have to go back and figure out when we started our club membership, but we have been members for some time and with no complaints about the service, the quality and of course the wines that they select. Of course, as I have stated often, it helps that we went with their Private Reserve Club, and with that the wines selected are not the opening price wines, but usually smaller production wines, and of course wines that would otherwise never arrive in Michigan. The Bernardus Cabernet Sauvignon will be the second one that I had, the first being the 1998 vintage. My Bride and I had a wonderful time visiting Bernardus Winery, and the Lodge, along with a tasting and dinner at their acclaimed Marinus Restaurant.
Bernardus Winery and Vineyards was founded by Ben Marinus Pon about twenty-five years ago with the intention of creating premier wines in the Carmel Valley. His intent was to produce single vineyard designated wines and a Bordeaux blended wine. Bernardus has three estate vineyards: Marinus planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec; Featherbow planted with Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon; and Ingrid’s Vineyard planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. All fifty-four acres of estate vineyards are in the Carmel Valley AVA. To compliment the estate vineyards Bernardus also has contracts with vineyards the Arroyo Seco, Santa Lucia Highlands and others in the Monterey County. I am sorry to say, that Mr. Pon passed away in September of 2019 and his vision will be continued by Robert van der Wallen the current owner, who also understand the passion that Mr. Pon had for his winery. As a non-wine note, they have recently opened Bernardus Golf in Holland, and it will be the host for the Dutch KLM open.
While, one doesn’t immediately think of Cabernet Sauvignon for Carmel Valley or Monterey County, Ben Pons had the desire not only to create some fine California interpretations of classic wines from Burgundy, but he also wanted to create a wine that would equal and compete with the fine wines of Bordeaux. The Bernardus Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmel Valley 2017, is the latest endeavor and there is ten percent Merlot that has been blended with the ninety percent Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit was harvested from selected blocks on the estate and underwent cold-fermentation and then aged for six months in twenty-eight-year-old neutral French Oak barrels. This allows the wine to be more fruit forward with a nose of red fruits and a taste that shows the red fruit and fresh acidity. They produced about two-thousand cases of this wine between standard bottles and magnums. A perfect wine to make us sentimental for another trip out there.