Thursday, May 26, 2011
Summer means weather – and time – for wine. A flurry of new tasting rooms have made Carmel and Carmel Valley the deepest goblet for summer wine tasters to dip into as the heat creeps.
Out in the valley, a wealth of standout spots like Joullian Vineyards, Heller Estate, Bernardus, Georis, Boekenoogen, Talbott and Parsonage remain ready to receive visitors – whether they descend by Wine Trolley, Grapevine Express or limo – and new outposts coming on line widen the opportunities. Joyce Vineyards, for instance, has a hip space on Village Drive a few steps from Parsonage, and, as this goes to press, Dan Karlsen’s Chock Rock is opening alongside Toast Carmel Valley.
In town, the trend is toward collaborations. Caraccioli Cellars is doing its distinguished sparkling and still wines in a slick new stand-alone – and Wrath is opening next to The Cheese Shop around August – but worthy brands like Figge, Aiena Wines and Tudor have partnered with Winfield Gallery, Anton & Michel and Andre’s Bouchee, respectively, to provide superb wines at tasting bars within those businesses. The Cheese Shop has its own to achieve precisely that.
A new advertising co-op between area wineries and the Weekly makes it easier to find the many options. Check p. 41 for a peek at that project.
Still, even with the new inspired partnerships and welcome growth, the most exciting thing about the community remains unchanged: The welcoming personalities that the industry inevitably attracts. You could make an argument that this hospitality is best represented in the indomitable and smiling spirit of the tasting room manager at Chateau Sinnet in Carmel Valley. And poetically, Mr. Singh’s first name, Sunny, couldn’t be much more appropriate for summer.