What do you do when you're kid-free for a few hours? Well, when the Nonni said that they would take the boys for the afternoon - to a local theatre production - I figured lunch and wine-tasting would be fun. So glad that we did. Great date...great wines.
There is a tasting room near Cannery Row that I've been eyeing for awhile: Pierce Ranch Vineyards. A small, family-owned operation centered in southern Monterey County's San Antonio Valley appellation, they produce limited-run, estate-grown wines with an emphasis on Spanish and Portuguese varieties. And their tasting room, surrounded by fragrant hedges of jasmine, salvia, and Cecil Bruner roses, is adorable! And, did I mention the wines?!?
We started with their 2011 Arinto. Light and citrusy. When we got home, I did some reading about Arinto since I was wholly unfamiliar with that grape. Beloved in Portugal, winemakers use Arinto mostly as a blending grape; but in the northern region of the Minho, Arinto shines as a monovarietal. Pierce followed suit and created a perfect summer wine. I am, admittedly, not very fond of white wines, but this one I would drink happily.
We moved onto reds with their Grenache which was a light, solid red. But it was the third wine in the tasting that I fell in love with: 2008 Cosecheiro. Odd to say that I "fell in love" with a wine, but its uniquely rose-heavy nose with spicy notes and a fruity finish made me swoon. It's a red blend - 52% Tempranillo, 38% Touriga, 6% Graciano, and 4% Petite Sirah. Handcrafted on a limited scale it was fermented in small lots and aged in American, French, and Hungarian oak for 18 months. Truly. Impressive.
We progressed to their heavier reds, a Zinfandel and a Petit Syrah, and though I left with a bottle of both the Petit Syrah and the Cosecheiro, I will share the Syrah; the Cosecheiro I'll squirrel away for a special occasion.
And there are some Sundays when they have live jazz. So, next time the Nonni take the boys on a Sunday, you'll know where to find me and Jake.
After our wine tasting, we strolled down to the more touristy part of Cannery Row to check out the new menu at Taste of Monterey. But I am definitely planning another stop by Pierce Ranch Vineyards' tasting room. Soon.