Mesa Del Sol Winery
Food & Drink

A Visit to Mesa Del Sol Winery

Award-winning wines and bucolic accommodations on the Arroyo Seco River

Ann Hougham, owner of the beautiful Mesa Del Sol Winery, which overlooks the Arroyo Seco River and valley. PHOTO: MARY LOU KELPE

Entering the grounds of Mesa Del Sol Winery is like stepping into timeless harmony. Lush vines grow prolifically over 14 acres, where row upon row of Sangiovese, Syrah and Zinfandel grapes ripen in the warm climate down Arroyo Seco Road in Greenfield.

Ann Hougham is the owner of this bucolic spot, where gentle zephyrs whisper through the canyon, and the gurgling Arroyo Seco River runs below. Peace and quiet reign on this beautiful property.

Our stay on this idyllic piece of land was to try Hougham’s gorgeous wines over lunch and dinner, and to experience the property and see the estate-grown vines for ourselves. Vineyards here are bright green and healthy, due to an annual dose of special compost from “organic matter.”

The 2012 Sangiovese ($32) has a complex structure with overtones of dark cherry and pomegranate on the palate and a spicy finish. As a main ingredient in Chianti, the purple-colored Sangiovese can be dry or semi-sweet. It’s a versatile Italian varietal that pairs well with many kinds of food, including Italian (of course!).

Mesa Del Sol wines have garnered many accolades, most notably when the 2002 Hunter Hill Syrah (Mesa Del Sol vineyards) took Best in Show at the 2005 California State Fair Wine Competition—out of 2,800 submitted wines.

Hougham’s property does not have a tasting room. Her estate is simply a beautiful retreat—a place to unwind, take a swim in the pool or soak in the Jacuzzi. As we walk around the grounds in the early morning, we see a green heron fly off from the trout pond as we head to gather newly laid eggs for breakfast.

I discovered Mesa Del Sol wines at a winemaker’s dinner I attended at Artemis—a lively restaurant in Carmel serving Mediterranean-influenced cuisine. Hougham’s wines served that evening were impressive, including the Sangiovese and the Prima Rosso, a zesty blend of estate-grown fruit.

You can taste Mesa Del Sol wines at Trio Carmel, a delightful store that features local wines, olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and gift items. Visit triocarmel.com for more info.

To stay on the Mesa Del Sol property, visit mesadelsolvineyards.com.

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