What's great in wine, beer, fine dining,
places to stay, & places to visit
in California State

Sunday, 12 November 2017 18:52

Wine Pick of the Week

JLohr Bay Mist Riesling Picmonkey

2016 White Riesling



Monterey County

Alcohol: 12%

Suggested Retail: $ 10

Sunday, 22 March 2015 20:47

March 20, 2015 Wine Pick of the Week

JLohr 2013 Riverstone Chard

2013 Rivestone Chardonnay



Arroyo Seco/Monterey Co.

Alcohol: 13.88%

Suggested Retail: $14


“Sourced from grapes grown in the Arroyo Seco region of Monterey County, renown for its Chardonnay. Aromas and tastes of tropical fruits (pineapple, mangos, papaya), pears and peaches. Soma vanilla and buttered toast aspects. Substantial feeling in the mouth and a long finish. Creamy and substantial, this is a good example of the lusher style of California Chardonnay at a bargain price.”

Food Affinity:  “Veal medallions in a sage cream sauce. Sliced Portabella mushrooms sautéed in butter and parsley."

Friday, 27 June 2014 10:05

June 27, 2014 Wine Pick of the Week

Wente Riva Ranch bottle Picmonkey

2012 Riva Ranch Chardonnay


Wente Vineards

Arroyo Seco/Monterey County

Alcohol: 13.5%

Suggested Retail: $22


“Wente really pioneered this variety in California. The family first planted it early in the 20th Century and brought out the first varietally-labeled bottle of Chardonnay in 1936. Since the 1960s this Livermore-based winery has also been developing vineyards in Monterey County.

“Riva Ranch is located in Monterey County's Arroyo Seco appellation and is the source for this wine—one of four different bottlings of Chardonnay from Wente. The color is golden and aromas tend to be floral and just a little bit spicy. There is a base of apple and pear flavors, but layered on top of that are definite tropical fruit aspects—papayas and mangoes, mostly. The 2012 Riva Ranch shows a creamy richness which is offset by some bracing lemony acidity. A bit of vanilla character from the oak shows through, but we don't find it excessive. Earlier this week the 2012 Riva Ranch was awarded a Gold Medal at the State Fair judging. Its appealing style will please many. ”

Food Affinity: “Traditional lobster with drawn butter and other rich shellfish dishes. We enjoyed it with garlic-marinated chicken, served with grilled spears of fresh pineapple.”

 Magenta ArroyoSeco PicmonkeyMorning sun rises over Arroyo Seco vineyard.

(Monterey, CA) September 17, 2013—With world-renowned terroir ideal for producing complex and concentrated Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Monterey County’s Arroyo Seco district celebrates its 30th anniversary as an American Viticulture Area (AVA) this fall.

One of the first areas in Monterey County to be distinguished as a unique winegrowing region, and one of the smallest in California, the Arroyo Seco AVA had already been recognized for growing outstanding wines – Chardonnay in particular – since the 1960s. Factors such as a cool climate influenced by nearby Monterey Bay, well-drained rocky soils, extreme winds, and experienced growers have combined to make wines from the Arroyo Seco AVA some of the most sought-after and awarded in the country.

“As one of the pioneers of Monterey County, Jerry Lohr planted his first grapes in the Arroyo Seco in 1972 knowing that the region was destined for producing high quality Chardonnay and Riesling,” said J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines President and COO, Jeff Meier. Since that time, Jerry Lohr’s passionate efforts to instill farming practices that bring out the best from the terroir have prompted his namesake and family owned company to expand varietal programs with Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Valdiguié. “Celebrating thirty years as an AVA is a milestone for the region and we at J. Lohr look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead for all of us who will continue to have a presence in the AVA over the next 30 years.”

“There just are not many places in California – or the world – where all of the elements that make Arroyo Seco unique can exist,” said Rich Smith, owner and founder of Valley Farm Management, one of Monterey County’s pioneer wine producers. “We began growing the forty-two acres of vines at Cobblestone Vineyards in the Arroyo Seco area in 1975, and have added about eleven-hundred acres of vines over the past thirty-five years on four other properties in Arroyo Seco. If imitation is the best compliment, we obviously believe in complimenting the Arroyo Seco.”

Fourth-generation winegrower and Chief Executive Officer of Wente Family Estates, Carolyn Wente, recalls how her father, Karl Wente, came to plant vineyards in the Greenfield area of Monterey County in 1963. “He was attracted to the unique soils and climate he found along the Arroyo Seco river and bench lands, and became an advocate for others to plant in the region. At that time, there were no other vineyards in the area, which was widely planted to vegetables and row crops such as sugar beets.”

backhoe view Arroyo Seco Picmonkey Roots of Chardonnay vines live in rocky Arroyo Seco soil.Wente went on to describe how additional winegrowers gradually purchased and planted in Arroyo Seco, learning how different rootstocks, clonal selections and varietals excelled in the region with the experience of multiple vintages. Eventually, it came time for recognition of the district’s excellence. “My mother and I drafted first the Monterey and then the Arroyo Seco appellation petition and championed them with other vineyard and winery owners in the early 80s. Since then, our belief in the unique attributes of the appellation has only strengthened with the outstanding quality of the wines produced through the years. This AVA is clearly a hidden gem in the coastal winegrowing valleys of California!”

In 2007, the Arroyo Seco Winegrowers & Vintners Association was established to promote the district’s distinguished terroir and wines. Headed by Michael Griva of F&G Vineyards, the association has made great strides in defining and celebrating what makes this district so special. “I grew up among the greats of the Arroyo Seco AVA,” said Griva, “people like Karl Wente, Rich Smith and Jerry Lohr. It’s been a pleasure to promote their vision for what makes Arroyo Seco stand out, and to support their legacy of incredible wines grown by people who are passionate about its terroir.”

Editor's note: Material for this article was supplied to TASTE News Service by the Arroyo Seco Winegrowers. More information on the winegrape growers and wines from the Arroyo Seco AVA can be found at www.ArroyoSecoWinegrowers.com. If you're planning a visit to Monterey County you may want to visit Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. In it you will find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, as well as links to wineries and beer-centric establishments.

Friday, 26 July 2013 18:35

July 26, 2013 Wine Pick of the Week


Jekel 2011 Chard bottle Picmonkey

2011 Gravelstone Chardonnay


Jekel Vineyards

Appellation: Arroyo Seco, Monterey

Alcohol: 14.4%

Suggested Retail: $15.99


“Aromas of pineapple and guava prominent, with some white peach, too. From first sip, this Gravelstone Chardonnay exhibits a lush, creamy personality. Flavors of melon and a bit of citrus predominate. The winemaker says he used mostly neutral oak barrels, but there's still a vanilla presence from that smaller amount of new oak cooperage. This is a big wine (14.4% alcohol) and is a relatively inexpensive option for those who favor the full-blown California treatment of this variety.”

Food Affinity: “Seared scallops finished in brown butter and served with mandarin orange sections. Boiled/steamed halibut served in a white sauce with chopped, hard-boiled egg and fresh parsley. Spicy green curry chicken.” 

Copyright © 2005 - 2018. Taste California Travel. All rights reserved. | Phoenix Website Design by CitrusKiwi