The Carmel Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) is located in Monterey County, California. This AVA is well known for the Chenin Blanc, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, and other wines it produces. Consisting of over 19,000 acres total, the Carmel Valley AVA has 300 acres of planted vineyards. It was approved in 1982, and is encompassed by the Central Coast AVA in California. There are many wineries and vineyards located in the Carmel Valley AVA, and there is actually a public bus that runs through the wine region and stops at most of their tasting rooms! For just a few of the very fine California wineries and vineyards of the Carmel Valley AVA, as well as some recommended wines, see below.
Heller Estate Organic Vineyards. This certified organic Carmel Valley winery has been producing amazing wines since 1970. They “dry farm” their wine grapes, using a minimal amount of irrigation, and also grow their grapes without pesticides or herbicides. These California vineyards consist of 120 acres of vines, including Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. Be sure to try their Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, a vibrant red wine that has aromas of black pepper and black currants, followed by flavors of blackberries and mocha. Also try their Chenin Blanc 2007, a California white wine that has aromas of almonds and citrus, and flavors that include honey, vanilla and spice. For more information on this Carmel Valley AVA and its California wines, click here.
Bernardus Winery and Vineyard. The wines of this Carmel Valley winery include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, made from grapes that grow outstandingly well in the cool coastal climate of California vineyards. Their signature wine, Marinus Estate, is a Bordeaux-style red wine created with traditional Bordeaux vinification methods that has to be tasted to be believed. Their other wines are also amazing. Be sure to try their Chardonnay, a lovely California white wine that has aromas of apricots and vanilla, followed by flavors of kiwi and lime. Their Sauvignon Blanc is also outstanding, with aromas of grapefruit and lemongrass, and flavors that include lemon and melon. For more information on this Carmel Valley AVA and its California wines, click here.
Chateau Julien Wine Estate. This winery’s estate vineyard is located in Monterey County’s Lockwood Valley, fourteen miles from the Pacific Ocean. Elevated at slightly below 1,000 feet, the climate and soil of this vineyard create wines that have characteristics that are unique to those of Monterey County. Be sure to try their 2003 Merlot. With aromas of vanilla and cedar, followed by flavors of dark cherry and oak, this full-bodied wine is an excellent example of California’s best. Also try their Syrah, made only with grapes from their own vineyard. Aged in American oak barrels, this red wine has aromas of black plum and pepper, and flavors that include blackberries, vanilla and oak. For more information on this Carmel Valley AVA and its California wines, click here.