Vine & Dine

Mercy Vineyards’ Chardonnay

wine glassIt’s not just the winged goddess on the label of Mercy Vineyards’ Riverbed Chardonnay 2012 that makes it a good Christmas gift (could it be the Angel of Mercy!), it is also a very affordable buy ($24).

The name “Riverbed” Chardonnay refers Arroyo Seco AVA, where the grapes were grown for this wine, on a small portion of terrain encompassing an ancient dry riverbed. Despite Mercy’s description of the terrain, the cool, marine-influenced area is perfect for growing premium grapes. “The meager topsoil contributes to this already low-yielding section of terrain—howling winds of 25-plus knots and dense fogs plague these sites and hamper growth, especially during flower and bloom,” say the folks at Mercy Vineyards. But all of this “meager topsoil” and inclement weather produces complex flavors in the wine. Indeed, producing grapes packed with flavor is not all about blue skies and sun.

What we have here is a well-balanced wine full of rich and creamy flavors. Aromas of Meyer lemon, Asian pear, tangerine, orange cream, mineral and floral tones entice one’s olfactory senses. It’s no wonder, then, that this rounded Chardonnay won a gold medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition this year, as well as being awarded 90 points from the California Grapevine; and 91 points from the Critics Challenge International Wine Competition. The crisp acidity and lingering finish make for a very drinkable wine that’s easy to enjoy.

Mercy Wine Sales & Tasting Room, 40 W Carmel Valley Road (Ste. A), Carmel Valley, 831-659-4321. Open 11:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Summit Wineries Hold Festive Holiday Weekend

Five wineries in the Summit Road area are having a festive holiday weekend with live music, gifts for sale, holiday decorations, food, and, of course – wine! Each winery will offer a different holiday experience, so plan to spend most of the day enjoying the celebrations. Tasting fees are $5-$10 per person. Participating wineries are: Burrell School, MJA, Silver Mountain, Villa del Monte, Wrights Station, and the Summit Store—which carries an excellent selection of local wines. The event is from noon to 5 p.m. on Dec. 6 & 7. Info:

Seascape Beach Resort’s Wine Wednesdays

Seascape Beach Resort’s popular Wine Wednesdays will be starting up again for the fall/winter season on Dec. 10 and continue through May of next year. From 5:30-7 p.m. every Wednesday there will be a featured winery pouring, and small plates of food, tapas style, will be served – enough for a light dinner, really. Cost is $15. Upcoming wineries are Storrs, Alfaro, Estancia, Beringer, and Bargetto, with more to follow. On Dec. 17 a fun Ugly Santa Christmas Sweater Contest event will take place – with the winner receiving a bottle of wine.

Seascape Beach Resort, One Seascape Resort Drive, Aptos, 688-6800.

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