After a few attempts to meet up with Garrett Bowlus of Albatross Ridge, I finally got to his tasting room in Carmel. My old school friend from England, Una, was staying for a couple of weeks, and I always love to take house guests wine tasting to show off the exceptional wines of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.
Albatross Ridge is named after winemaker Garrett’s great-grandfather William Hawley Bowlus’ Albatross gliders, which he used to fly off the ridgetops of Monterey’s coast back in the 1930s. Albatross Ridge’s impressive labels depict a glider and a figure touching a wing—in a tribute, I’m sure, to famed engineer William Hawley Bowlus, whose pioneering sailplanes are now in the Smithsonian.
I took a bottle of Albatross Ridge Rosé Pinot Noir ($40) to one of my favorite places to dine, Imura Japanese Restaurant in Watsonville, as I felt it would pair well with their delicious sushi and sashimi. We had young family guests staying with us from Omaha, Nebraska, and they were drawn to the meat dishes offered by Imura.
After a round of Japanese sake, served in delightful little cups, our attentive server Shanice cracked open the sparkling Rosé, which comes with delightful tart fruit flavors and lots of fizz—a splendid pairing with all of the mouthwatering sushi we ordered. The bottle comes with an easy-off beer-cap top.
“Produced in limited quantities using the méthode ancestrale, our sparkling Pétillant Naturel Rosé is sourced from just seven distinct rows of Pinot Noir at our estate,” says winemaker Garrett Bowlus. And this estate just happens to be in an ideal spot—on a steep and rocky Carmel Valley ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Carmel Bay.
The Albatross Ridge tasting room is on Mission Street between Ocean and 7th avenues, Carmel-by-the-Sea. Open daily from 1 p.m. Visit albatrossridge.com for more info.
The next Passport day, when many wineries are open to the public for a complimentary tasting—providing you have a Passport from the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association—is Saturday, July 15. Check the website at scmwa.com for more information on Passport events. Passports can also be purchased at wineries.