It is that time of the year that we received our wine club shipment from A Taste of Monterey and we discovered the club by accident as we were wandering around the waterfront of Monterey, as we were going to have lunch at the famous Sardine Factory, not only was that a spectacular meal, we ended up buying some art at an art gallery and we joined the wine club at A Taste of Monterey as well. That was probably around twenty-five years ago and we joined their Private Reserve Club as a way of receiving some wines that are made in too small of batches to end up in Michigan. This shipment featured three wineries that we have enjoyed wines from in past shipments.
Big Sur Vineyards Grenache Arroyo Seco 2018 is from a winery whose first vintage was Big Sur Red 2013 and was a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Petite Sirah. The winery began as a hobby and they planted vines along with olive groves and lavender. In the beginning they made soaps as well as slowly making wines and it was a family project, with the kids originally stomping the grapes. They still make the Big Sur Red and they also produce individual offerings of the original three varietals and some others as well, as they continue to expand. This is their second offering of the Grenache and their tasting notes says that this wine is as graceful as a Pinot Noir with notes of pomegranate, wild plum and briar picked raspberries, along with pepper and sage, balance and a nice lingering finish of mineral terroir. As a side note, they had just opened a tasting room in the Carmel Valley in 2016 and three months later the Soberanes fire destroyed their home, vineyards and olive grove, and they are bouncing back with energy.
Pot Belly Vintners Monterey County NV, this wine is a blend of four different vintages from a three-acre plot that only grows the Souzao varietal. As in most traditional Port wines the fermentation has been arrested by the fortification with brandy which brings the alcohol content up to 18.5%. The aging potential for this wine is up to twenty years. This wine calls itself a Port wine, though the classic Port wines come from Porto in Portugal. The Portuguese government and the winemakers have gotten a ruling that only wines from the Douro Valley can now be called Port, similar to the laws governing the usage of the word Champagne. Though wineries that were making classic port-style wines prior to this ruling have been grandfathered in, and may continue using the word Port on the label. The tasting notes remark about the deep purple color, that this wine is jammy with a concentration of black cherry, blueberry, raspberry and licorice, offering layered flavors of chocolate covered cherries, pepper and hints of tobacco and clove. Perfectly balanced with a velvety texture and a long finish. The aging potential for this wine is fifteen to twenty years.
Wrath Estate Wines Swan/828 Pinot Noir Monterey County 2018 is Estate Grown fruit and is part of their Winemakers Series. Over the years we have received and enjoyed many wines from Wrath. Wrath Estate Winery is located in Soledad, California and they are a winery where production is limited, but not the quality, and since we have been there, they have opened a satellite tasting room in downtown Carmel. The winery produces Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Falanghina and Sauvignon Blanc from their estate vineyard and some very respected private vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands. This is among the top ten most highly rated Monterey wines by Wine Spectator and based on critic scores and price, this wine represents great value. It is from their San Saba Vineyards which is just below the Santa Lucia Highlands. This clonal blend offers dark cherry, raspberries and earth to the nose, a balanced wine on the palate with red berry and cherry cola notes and a long finish with notes of minerals and terroir.