Monday, May 16, 2016

Wine Walk: Cheers to Carmel's Fabulous Tasting Rooms

By Omid Vojdani

Wine. Sophisticated, aromatic, tasty, and fun. But not for me. Wine has always made me nauseous and caused some major headaches. So when Edible Skinny was to visit Carmel by the Sea’s famous Wine Walk, I had my reservations about going. After I was shown gorgeous pictures of amazing ocean views and a city with a rustic small town feel, I was convinced to give it a try. But, as a science guy, I decided to come armed with some questions for the experts, and determined to get to the bottom of my wine related health issues.

We had two Wine Tasting Passports, which provided us tasters with a wine walk flight of our choice at any 9 of the 14 tasting rooms for only $65. All of the tasting rooms are within a mile of each other.  

Our first two stops were Scheid and De Tierra. Both of these vineyards are unique in that they are organic and sustainable wineries, both holding current SIP certifications. SIP, sustainability in practice, is a certification which must be renewed annually, and certifies that the whole winery is free of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and requires sustainability not just at the grape level, but the entire ecosystem around the farm. 

There were three specific wines that I recommend trying on the Walk. As a beer guy, I was blown away by Scheid’s Triple Layer White. It reminded me of a well balanced session IPA; a little bitterness, balanced out with the full flavor of the three different white grapes – Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne. At De Tierra, the Puzzler Red Blend stood out, with smoky fig notes, abundant cinnamon, and a little warm toffee on the finish. And if you are a fan of Rosé, stop by Windy Oaks Estate for theirs; crispy, light, but not lacking in full flavor of the Grenache grapes. 

At each of the tasting rooms, I was blown away at the level of service with a smile and knowledge our hosts had. I was finally able to have all my questions answered, and was surprised to discover that the ever popular tannin and sulfite explanations to my wine sickness were not the answer. 

All of them agreed that it was mostly due to the incredible amount of additives used in the production of cheap wine; up to 76 different additives in some wines, and any one could cause allergic reactions. The wineries on the Walk maintain an incredible respect for the craft of wine making, and create deliciously pure wines that stand out. 

The stunning little town of Carmel, cool ocean breezes, and delicious wine all came together into a remarkable way to create a wonderful experience. And while we didn’t use all our passes, they do not expire, making this a regular trip to enjoy anytime of the year. With all of my questions answered, and a new world of sophistication opened up to me, I walked away from the Walk a very happy health nut. 

As always, drink happy, drink healthy, and drink responsibly! Cheers!

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