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Wine Tasting + the Happiest Hour

April 1, 2013

I hope you all had a great weekend! Mine was spent doing some slushy Spring skiing, patio drinking and house cleaning.  None of that is as note-worthy blog-worthy as the Carmel trip I still have to finish recapping, so let’s return to California…

Big Sur beach

After a day spent driving along Big Sur, we made it back to Carmel Valley just in time for some wine tasting.  There are a lot of vineyards in this fertile valley, and in the last few years quite a few tasting rooms have sprung up in the little village.

We arrived around 4 p.m. and most of them close around 5 p.m., so we had to choose wisely on where to go tasting first.  After discussing a few options we chose Joyce Vineyards as our first stop.

Joyce Vineyards

Joyce has excellent reds and a very good chardonnay.  Out of all the wine tasting I’ve done recently, this was probably the most to my preferences.  I can always find Colorado wines that I like when we go tasting in Palisade and I gained an appreciation of Willamette Valley Pinot noirs, but most of those wines still wouldn’t be my first choice when ordering off a restaurant’s wine list.  It turns out that when it comes to wine, I’m a California girl.

Joyce Vineyards

The wines we tasted at Joyce were well-rounded and complex, and some of their reds had some serious oomph to them.  They produce a wide variety of wines, and my tasting flight included two different Chardonnays (I hated one and liked the other), a Merlot, maybe a couple of Cabernets and a Syrah.  Their Syrah was my favorite and I picked up a bottle to bring home.

We also played a fun game of wine trivia against the guy who was pouring our wine and won!  Sure it was three vs. one, but he was a professional.  Either way, we were proud.  Victorious, we left Joyce and tried to snag another tasting before 5 p.m. Since it was about 4:59:59, we got turned away by the first two places we tried and gave up on the idea of another tasting. 

We weren’t exactly devastated because we had quite a backup plan: happy hour at Georis Winery.  This was one of those times when local knowledge while traveling was invaluable – without my aunt, who enjoys the Georis happy hour with her friends on occasion, we wouldn’t have known about this great experience.

Georis Happy Hour

Every Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Georis pours select wines for $5 and others for $7.50.  They also have a spread of complimentary hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, and you can order their flatbread pizzas for something like $7.

Georis Happy Hour

I had done a tasting at Georis years ago when visiting with my family and remembered loving the beautiful garden setting.

Georis Wisteria

Georis Happy Hour

From the flowering wisteria at the entryway…

Georis Winery

To the shade of the cork (!) tree…

Georis Winery

To the water features…

Georis Winery

And the tables scattered throughout, this is an idyllic place to sit and sip wine.  And sit and sip we did.  We each started out with a glass of the La Chapelle off of the $7.50 menu.  It was a big, fruity and spicy blend that I liked a lot.

Georis Happy Hour

Even though lunch was not so long ago, we enjoyed snacking from the complimentary buffet.  I couldn’t get enough of the veggies and dip or the mini meatballs.  I’m a firm believer in food with my wine because I know that when I taste too many wines without snacking in between my taste buds (and my sobriety) wave goodbye pretty quickly.  Apparently Georis even serves a small cheese plate with their usual tasting, which I think is a great touch.

Next up for me was a glass of ($5) Cabernet Sauvignon, which was also very good (the aforementioned taste buds were already too dull for me to elaborate further).

Georis Happy Hour

In case you were wondering, these are not tasting pours we are talking about.  Rather, they are pretty generous glasses of wine.  Just wanted to clear that up.

The boyfriend tried a glass of Cabernet Franc at the recommendation of one of the employees, and it turned out to be our favorite of the bunch.  It was a little more mellow than the others we’d tried, but very still very fruity and full-bodied.  It wasn’t on the happy hour menu but it was worth it. (At least I think it was… I didn’t pay the tab and I was a bit tipsy by this point.)

I wish I could explain the feeling of pure relaxation I had while sitting on this beautiful patio.  It was a perfect 60-ish degrees out, and our table sat in a little patch of sun.  I was surrounded by this unbelievably beautiful garden, sipping delicious wine across the table from my guy.  It was perfection.

Georis Happy Hour

The great thing was that everyone at Georis seemed to feel the same way – relaxed and content to bask in the sun with their wine.  Our relaxing evening got us ready for an adventurous next day – we were going whale watching!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2013 2:55 pm

    I can usually track down a wine region in most places I visit but somehow I missed out the Carmel Valley wineries when I did a California road trip! Looks lovely though.

    • April 1, 2013 4:27 pm

      Oh man! It’s definitely not as large or well-known as a lot of the surrounding wine regions so it could be easily missed, but has some great wines. I hope you’re enjoying your Southwest road trip!

      • April 1, 2013 4:54 pm

        Thanks, we fly out to Las Vegas on Thursday and can’t wait to trade 3 degree temps at home for 33 degree ones out there!

  2. donna permalink
    April 1, 2013 6:30 pm

    This brings back such lovely memories of Carmel and our Georis garden wine tasting! Can’t wait to visit again, we have a trip booked for September.


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