I recently met up with three friends for dinner at Sanderlingsat Seascape Beach Resort. We chose to eat outside so we could watch the sun set over the ocean, but the Aptos fog rolled in and swallowed it up.
All was well when our server opened a bottle of McIntyre Vineyards Chardonnay ($30 in the restaurant). A beautiful, well-structured Chardonnay such as this really added flavor to our evening and harmonized perfectly with the array of fish dishes we selected—and I recommend it as a fail-proof choice the next time you dine at Sanderlings.
Fruit for this wine was grown on the 80-acre McIntyre Estate Vineyard, in the well-known Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, where Chardonnays are prized for their intensity, complexity and balance. This wine has aged well for a 2009 release. McIntyre Vineyards has since released Chardonnays made in other years, the latest being 2013, and now available to try at their tasting room, in Carmel’s Crossroads Shopping Center.
Made by experienced winemaker Steve McIntyre, whose wines have garnered accolades far and wide over the years, and who I was happy to meet pouring several wines at Big Sur Food & Wine Festival some time ago—all of them impressive.
Known for his sustainable winegrowing in the Santa Lucia Highlands, McIntyre also makes wine organically and biodynamically for many other wineries.
As the ocean fog swirled around and thickened, sitting outside became almost surreal—and noticeably quiet, as, approaching 10 o’clock, most of the diners had already gone home. The silence was a pleasant change, and the loveliest dining experience I have had for some time.
McIntyre Vineyards, 169 Crossroads Shopping Center, Carmel, 626-6268. Mcintyrevineyards.com
The McIntyre Estate Vineyard lies in the “sweet spot” of Monterey County’s Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, a 12-mile stretch of east-facing benchland renowned for producing wines with great character and complexity. Originally planted in 1973, the 80-acre site boasts some of the Highlands’ oldest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines. Since purchasing the property in 1987, the McIntyre family has viticulturally upgraded the entire site.
Today, McIntyre Vineyards produces estate, vineyard designated, and block designated wines from their estate and neighboring vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands and Arroyo Seco Avas. They produce several distinct pinot noirs, chardonnays and a merlot, sparkling wine and a rose.
With degrees in viticulture and enology, Steve McIntyre is that rare combination of winegrower and winemaker. With a history in SLH that stretches nearly four decades, Steve has a unique perspective on the terroir and wines of this great appellation. In 1987, following many years as winemaker at Smith & Hook, a neighboring winery in the Highlands, he purchased the adjacent 80-acre vineyard parcel that would eventually become McIntyre Vineyards.
2013 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir $34
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Appellation: Santa Lucia Highlands
Harvest Date: September 2013
Aging: Oak Barrel
Bottling Date: August 2014
MARCH 15, 2015 by gfrederiks
Although this is a young wine, all the flavors and aromas have already melded together in harmony. It’s a full-throttle California Chardonnay, exhibiting rich nose impressions of smoke, toast, spice and butter, all wrapped around light scents of nectarine, sweet lime, and tropical fruit. Despite its bigness, this white shows a refinement more associated with Old World Burgundies. It is delicious on its own, but would also be a marvelous foil for a seafood pasta with Alfredo sauce.
MSRP: $36 (March 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 92
March 15, 2015 by gfrederiks
The Santa Lucia Highlands appellation, on the east-facing side of the mountain range in Monterey County, has developed a reputation for being a world-class region for Burgundian varietals. This wine is a translucent dark coral/ruby color, hinting at the concentration and extraction in this bottling. Fresh berry scents are upfront in the nose, leading to darker cherry cola and chocolate impressions, followed by a kiss of clove. It is light, boisterous, and juicy in the mouth, showing an elegant, silky texture. At the end, some earthy, youthful grip pops up.
MSRP: $42 (March 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 90
By Russ Winton - email@example.com
10/07/2014 12:00 AM UPDATED:10/06/2014 2:52 PM
One of the most common mistakes people make when tasting wine is to confuse the fruitiness of a wine with sweetness. Sweetness in wine means only one thing; the amount of sugar left in the juice after the fermentation stops. It is referred to as residual sugar or R.S. When tasting wine, your tongue really can only taste sweet (sugar), sour (acids) and bitter (tannins). Fruitiness is the tendency of wine to taste and smell of fruit. When the fruit is sweet, like cherries or plums, tasters often mistake the fruitiness for sweetness.
The easiest way to tell if a wine is sweet or fruity is to eliminate the sense of smell. Fruit flavors are mostly aromatic, in other words you smell them much more than you taste them. Sugar is felt on the tip of the tongue. So if you smell a wine and it smells sweet and you taste a wine and it tastes sweet, pinch your nose and taste it again. A sweet wine will still taste sweet while a dry fruity wine’s sweet characteristics will be gone.
Confused? OK, let me simplify. Pinch your nose and taste. Is it sweet? Then it’s a sweet wine with R.S. Pinch again, if you don’t taste sweet, then it’s a dry wine and what you thought was sweet was just that fruit thing messing with your mind.
The Rio Grill in the Crossroads Shopping Center in Carmel has been one of our favorite restaurants for many years. Great food (killer onion rings) and half-priced wines on Mondays have kept us going back. In 2007 Taste Morgan opened, featuring a large, comfortable tasting room with a friendly staff. Turlock native and owner, Dan Lee, features excellent wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands and Morgan’s own organically farmed Double L Vineyard. This year, two other tasting rooms have moved into the center.
Southern Latitudes Wines sells exclusively the wines of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Chile. If you’re not familiar with these wines this is the place you want to visit. They have daily tastings and can turn you on to some very interesting wines. The third tasting room, soon to open, is McIntyre Vineyards. Owner Steve McIntyre produces some of the best Santa Lucia Highlands chardonnay and pinot noir in the region. The McIntyre site is just across the street from Taste Morgan and a few hundred feet from Southern Latitudes Wines.
What’s on our table
Three wines, all under $12, graced our table this week; the 2013 Hanna Sauvignon Blanc, the 2012 McManis Syrah and the 2012 McManis Jamie Lynn Vineyards Barbera. We’d like to invite them back again. Cheers!
Congratulations to Steve McIntyre on being awarded Grower of the Year by the California Association of Winegrape Growers. Click here to see the press release. Grower_of_the_Year