After our last trip to Monterey County in search of delicious Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noirs we were excited when a friend invited us to join them and some friends for a camping trip in Carmel Valley. We stayed in one of the cabins at Saddle Mountain Ranch and our friends were close by in their campers. As a side note, if you enjoy camping but don’t care too much for tent camping anymore I would highly recommend staying in a cabin at an RV campground. The cabins have everything you need including showers and a full kitchen. The Saddle Mountain Ranch campground is located in the Carmel Valley and is about halfway between Carmel Valley Village and the city of Carmel. We decided to spend our Saturday in Carmel Valley Village and revisited Boekenoogen Winery for a picnic and a glass of their 2012 Estate Pinot Noir with our friends.
We also floated past the fragrant wisteria covered entrance to Talbott Winery over to the idyllic courtyard at Georis Winery which is within walking distance from Boekenoogen in the Carmel Valley Village.
We felt as if we had walked into the Old Country when we stepped into the courtyard at Georis Winery. There was a fountain at the entrance and a couple of benches facing each other and a long table beyond that. There were quite a few rustic iron doors and other vintage items tastefully placed around the courtyard. It was very warm an inviting. We found ourselves a table where all nine of us could sit without being roasted by the sun. (It was unseasonably warm the day we were there)
We enjoyed a variety of wines, ice tea, lemonade and water while we chatted and played a bit of Backgammon and and a few of us schemed how we could imitate the garden designs into our own backyards.
Later that evening a few of us ventured towards the coast to catch the sunset and ended up getting lost through the streets of Carmel but saw an amazing sunset and listen to a guy playing bagpipes on the the rocks. Not a bad way to finish up a day in Carmel.
After spending an hour or so “bopping” around Carmel the next day we headed back home with the intention of stopping along River Road to have our final tastes of some more Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noirs. The sweet girl at Alexander Smith Tasting Room in Carmel recommended we check out Pessagno Winery which we did. We planned to have our little picnic out on their patio so that we weren’t tasting on an empty stomach but it was a bit too windy outside so they graciously allowed us to sit at a long table in the tasting room with our cheese and crackers. The two ladies, Vickie and Jill, pouring wine in the tasting room were very friendly and helpful. The tasting list included a Reisling, a few Chardonnays and a few Pinot Noirs. The Chardonnays were a hit and we were disappointed to find out that they were sold out of their 2011 Four Boys Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands but we were not disappointed by the other choices that they did have! We took home a couple of the 2012 Central Avenue Vineyard Pinots and a bottle of their amazing Merlot.
We are looking forward to checking out some more of the wineries along River Road in Salinas in the near future!