Monterey, with it’s maritime climate, produces some of the most refreshingly open and light-bodied wines. Picture moist, foggy air wafting over the vineyard as a beautiful bay breeze blows across the foothills of the Santa Lucia Highlands. Breathe in that freshness, feel your lungs expand, and engage in that freedom of open air meeting open land meeting open water. Now put that feeling in a bottle of wine.
Carmel Road 2014 Unoaked Chardonnay: a prime example of a New World region’s ability to create a unique drinking experience based on its unique terroir and climate…
Let me start off by saying that this wine is my definition of a “Daily Drinker.” Not only is it easily accessible, both in price and on the palate, but it comes in a cute little half bottle at my local Whole Foods Market. I’m a big fan of the half bottle for a during the week drink — think of it as portion control. You know when it’s only Tuesday, but you really want a glass or two of wine, but you really don’t want to open a whole bottle and make vinegar for the weekend? Yeah, that’s when half bottles are awesome. And when the flavor profile is easy on the palate, well, that’s just bonus points.
Little did I know that my weekday, “Daily Drinker” actually has a bit of a story and a little more depth than I originally gave it credit for…
Rhone Rangers, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to promoting American Rhone-style wines, supporting the winemakers who choose to put a New World spin on Old World wine, and — of course — educating the public about the unique and versatile wines produced from all of this research and labour. During the 2016 Rhone Rangers Seminar and Grande Tasting in San Francisco, I had the privilege to learn directly from local, West Coast winemakers who work to move beyond common “Syrah-stereotypes.”
Although this wine is a bit pricier than what I’d normally deem a “Daily Drinker,” I find that I can’t help but come back to this wine again and again. Delicious, accessible, reliable, it’s the kind of wine that when I know I want it, I just make a bee-line for it. Price be darned.
Rutherford Hill’s 2012 Merlot could honestly be either a Daily Drinker or a Special Sipper. Since it’s completely affordable but has that essence “de” fancy — I say stock up and enjoy for any occasion, big or small.