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Savor the Sunshine: Carmel Valley’s East End Wine Row

Carmel Valley, one of the seven appellations that make up California’s celebrated wine destination, Monterey County, makes for the perfect inland getaway for the casual or veteran wine enthusiast.

Situated a little less than 15 miles southeast of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel Valley covers about 190 square miles within the Santa Lucia mountain range and is anchored by Carmel Valley Village, population 4,400 (2010).  This is horse country, with world-class equestrian centers for the hunter/jumper set, and plenty of remote country for western riders. There’s dust and pine and a bit of wildness in the air; boar, game birds, and mountain lions live in the hills. The climate is almost perfect.

The village’s East End Wine Row provides an opportunity for visitors to sip award-winning wines at its six boutique tasting rooms. There, they can enjoy the wine and good weather with fellow tasters and even chat with the winemakers, in a warm, amiable setting. The Wine Row, which itself, asks to be navigated on foot, is just steps away from notable restaurants, championship golf courses, and hiking and horseback riding trails where the valley’s scenery waits to be discovered.

Because of its superior climate, with bright, warm summer days and cool, clear nights, Carmel Valley boasts a number of varietals, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Zinfandel. After experiencing some, or all of these wines, visitors of the East End Wine Row will understand what makes Carmel Valley so pleasantly distinct.

Participating East End Wine Row Tasting Room Wineries:

Chesebro Wines

Cima Collina

Dawn’s Dream Winery

Holman Ranch

Joyce Vineyards

Parsonage Family Winery

Reviews

Chesebro 2009 Las Arenas-Cedar Lane Vineyard Red $23

This Arroyo Seco red blend (65% grenache, 35% syrah) has intense aromas of red fruit, spice, and mocha. Smooth and rich on the palate, with a medium body and velvety finish.

Cima Collina 2009 Tondre Grapefield Pinot Noir $48

Aromas and flavors of black fruit, cherries, cocoa and spice; with hints of sweet vanilla and dried herbs. Rich and inviting on the palate, with a long, flavorful finish.

Dawn’s Dream 2011 Carmel Valley Sauvignon Blanc $24

Guava, papaya, and tart citrus notes meld with a crisp minerality on the palate. Medium bodied and elegant, with a long, delicious finish.

Holman Ranch 2010 Pinot Noir Hunter’s Cuvée Carmel Valley $40

Plush and rich, with aromas and flavors of red and black fruit, berry jam and a hint of spice. Creamy and smooth on the palate, with a never ending finish.

Joyce Vineyards 2012 Tondre Grapefield Pinot Noir $35

Soft and round; with black cherry, floral, herb and cola notes. Medium bodied, with lean tannins and an understated elegance.

Parsonage 2011 Estate Syrah Carmel Valley $36

Lush and buttery, with black fruit, briar, coffee, and spice. Full bodied, lavish and perfectly balanced, with a long, complex finish.

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