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grand champions and grappa

12/03/2010
So just in case you were wonderful, Julien and I had a wonderful day yesterday. We went to the beach, drank wine, saw a show and … oh yeah … drank some more wine! After our trip to the beach, with absolutely perfect weather, mind you, Julien and I went for a little wine tasting at Galante Vineyards tasting room in downtown Carmel. It was a cute little place that had a chair made to look like a boot. Gosh darn, I wish I’d gotten a picture of it! But someone was sitting in it almost the whole time we were there, so it didn’t quite work out. 
The tasting room host, Will, let us go through their entire collection of wines, which was great. They only had one white on the entire tasting list, a 2009 Sauvignon Blanc ($25) blended with a bit of Viogner. Turns out that’s the only white they produce, since they’re mostly known for Cabernets. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc quite a bit, despite the fact that it was so new and had only aged (partially in steel and partially in oak) for a couple of months. It was incredibly light with notes of mango, tangerine and light vanilla. There was only the faintest scent of cat pee on it, something that strangely is characteristic of Sauvignon Blanc. It finished with a taste of grapefruit that lingered well enough but didn’t overpower. We ended up getting a bottle of it to try later on.
Two other notable wines from their list were, first,  the 2005 “Blackjack Preserve” Cabernet Sauvignon ($50), which had notes of tobacco, coffee and soft leather with black cherry on the finish. The tannins on this one were really soft and didn’t dry out the palate, which I liked quite a bit. The other one was their 2007 Grand Champion ($75), but more for its IMPENDING value then it’s current one. It was a wine that tasted strained and new … but I imagine that in 5 years or so, that wine is going to taste phenomenal. Will said he was currently trying the 96 and 97 vintages of the Grand Champion and that they were to die for … so if you’re looking for something to hold on to, I would definitely recommend picking up a bottle for the future. However, I would probably pass on their 2007 Merlot and their 2006 Pinot Noir … I wasn’t impressed by them. 

After the wine tasting Julien and I had a fabulous dinner at Cantinetta Luca. Julien’s dad, Chris, spoiled us with a wide array of amazing Italian wines, ranging from the lightest of whites to the heaviest of reds. I was able to sample them all … but I have to honestly say that by the time I’d gotten through all of them, I couldn’t barely spell my own name, let alone write down notes about all of them. Yep, I got a little toasty. But I will say that they were great … and I would definitely recommend Southern Italian reds, which were the focus of our red tasting. For dinner Julien and I shared our entrees (we like to do that!), one was a risotto with chanterelle mushrooms and shaved asparagus. The other was a pumpkin ravioli. They were both delish! We finished with a fabulous cheese platter (the parmigiano-reggiano was spectacular, and was paired with a balsamic glaze … amazing!) and a couple of desserts, including a great tiramisu. Unfortunately by that the time the wine had seriously gone to my head and I wasn’t able to finish all of the desserts with Julien.

Then after that we went to a fun performance of Anything Goes, which our friend was in. The musical itself is a bit, how shall we say, dated … but the performance was lively and we did enjoy ourselves. Overall, Julien and I had a wonderful time … and I’m definitely looking forward to number three! Here’s a little slideshow of our day, in case you wanted to see some other pics!

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