Monterey County- A good place to visit and taste
This week we’re in California again, but looking at white wine. Even red wine lovers occasionally enjoy a white wine to clear the palate before moving on, and white wine lovers sometimes want to try something new but not too unfamiliar. We’ll examine a region and grape that are both famous, but somehow not yet overpriced.
If you’re in Little Rock, our next wine dinner will be Tuesday, July 24 at The Italian Couple. The menu and wine list are complete (the main course is Veal Scallopine, served with the single vineyard Villa Giannelli “Gutturnio” Barbera / Bonarda blend). Go to www.brucecochran.com to see the menu and wine list. For reservations call (501) 372-4448. The cost is $65 per person includes everything: five wines, four courses, tax and gratuity.
You can hear my weekly radio program, The Wine Show, live on the internet or download it for later, at www.kabf883.org at 11:30 a.m. on Fridays. The show is broadcast by KABF FM 88.3 in Little Rock
Taste something good this week!
Monterey County is a great place to visit for many reasons. First, there’s the town of Monterey, with its beautiful bay and wildlife, the world famous aquarium, Cannery Row and wharfs, and the beginning of Highway One’s Big Sur, one of the nation’s most scenic coastline drives. Nearby are Carmel, Pebble Beach Golf Course and the 17 Mile Drive. And there are lots of wine tasting opportunities, both in town and in the surrounding wine country.
It’s an easy drive from the San Francisco airport (SFO), and you don’t even have to drive through the city. Many more wine lovers visit the better known wine regions of Napa Valley and Sonoma County to the north of San Francisco, which may in itself be a good reason to visit Monterey.
Geographically, the topography acts almost as a sump for ocean-cooled air to drain inland, cooling the vineyards. As the air farther inland warms and rises during the day, cooler air from the bay is drawn in. This helps to preserve the crisp, tart fruit acids in its white wines and generally helps to prevent the reds from becoming overripe and too high in alcohol. Additionally, much of the vineyard area is sloping, which allows rain to drain away instead of being drawn up into the plant, and into the grapes, diluting the flavors.
I’ve long been a fan of Hess Select Monterey County Chardonnay for its vibrant fruit and crisp acidity. Pinot Grigio seems a natural for this area, as the entire pinot family tends to grow better in cooler climates. Monterra’s Pinot Grigio is a good example of this, having more fruit than most Italian examples, while maintaining its refreshing liveliness.
Retail: Around $10
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