Back to blogging now after being away for a while on business. We had the pleasure of going down to Carmel Valley this past weekend for some good food and wine -- on the food front, we are big fans of both Casanova restaurant (in Carmel-by-the-sea) and their more casual sister bistro in Carmel Valley, the Corkscrew Cafe.
As far as wine goes, we decided to stay within the "culinary family" and visit Georis Winery, which is owned by the same folks who own the two restaurants above and is well-known for its excellent merlot (as an added benefit, the tasting room is right next door -- literally -- to the Corkscrew Cafe). Georis puts on an excellent tasting experience in their beautiful outdoor patio, and each tasting is accompanied by a plate of 3 cheeses and a helpful history of the wine from the friendly staff -- highly recommended if you are in the area.
We tried several wines, all of which were quite tasty but the stars were the 2000 and 2002 "Estate" Merlot bottlings. Unlike some of the others, these were neither too thin (the 2002 Le Sanglier suffered a bit from this) nor too tannic at this age (the 2001 "Estate" Merlot was a bit tough relative to the other two) -- instead, the 2000 and 2002 were complex, well-balanced and showed a pleasant, lingering finish that paired quite well with both the hard and soft cheeses. These would be great food wines, and the 2000 comes from a renowned vintage that local aficionados believe can be cellared until the 2020's -- since it is so delicious right now, I'm not sure any bottle I bought would last that long.
Bottom line: both the wine and the experience at Georis are highly recommended, along with the Corkscrew Cafe next door.