The first wine club we ever joined was “A Taste of Monterey” and it was purely by happenstance. We were going to eat at the famed Sardine Factory in Monterey and we were wandering around the Cannery Row district and we ended up buying the most expensive piece of art in our home, but also discovered the wine club. We were just doing a wine tasting, when they mentioned that they had a wine club, well that was back in the days, when Michigan was a felony state for the shipment of wines. (Our governor at the time was sued along with the State and the courts realized that the State was wrong and caused hardships to the citizens. The case of Granholm vs. Heald was a boon across the country for wine lovers, but the one term governor has since found a new way to cause havoc to the state of Michigan, possibly in retribution.) Back then I was used to shipping “olive oil” by the cases to my place of employment, and here was a club that said it was legal for them to ship, and they have been shipping ever since.
When we joined, they had two clubs to choose from, and now they have three. We went with their “Private Reserve Club” as I figured that we had a chance to get some better and limited production wines, that would probably get any interest from the wholesalers in my state. A few times the wines that were shipped were from one or two barrels of production. And we have had a chance to discover some of the smaller AVA sub-regions in Monterey, that in the early days, hardly even got a mention. The club offers about two-hundred-fifty different wines from about seventy-five wineries is Monterey. With our club program, we get three wines quarterly and, in this carton, we receive one from a new winery for us, and two wines from wineries that we have had before.
The new winery and wine are Exposition Estate Vineyards Monterey Sparkling Wine NV is from a cold-climate (Region 1), sustainably farmed about two miles south of Soledad. The area gets full sun exposure, but little protection from the strong winds that scrub the valley every afternoon, hence it is considerably cooler compared to Santa Lucia Highland and Arroyo Seco AVAs. The wine is a blend of fifty-three percent Pinot Noir and forty-seven percent Chardonnay. The wine is produced in the Traditional Method or Methode Champenoise. Primary fermentation was done slowly and at a cold temperature. Then the wine was bottled with sugar and yeast, for secondary fermentation in the bottle and after aging forty months on the lees, the wine was riddled. The settled lees were frozen to form a “plug” and disgorged, then the sparkling wine was quickly corked to maintain the effervescence. The tasting notes for the wine describe it as dry, elegant and complex cuvee which exhibits bright fruit, crisp acidity and a toasty creaminess.