The Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County was yet-to-be-explored wine country for me until a couple of weekends ago. After spending two perfect days soaking up as much of the area as I could, I found it to be a unique and very special place.
The SLH AVA sits in the Salinas Valley between the Santa Lucia and Gabilan Mountain Ranges, and enjoys a true cool climate thanks to fog and breezes blowing in from the Monterey Bay. This makes it absolutely ideal for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah – varieties that dominate in the area. As a serious fan of Pinot Noir, I couldn’t wait to taste some new wines.
We spent most of our time on the River Road Wine Trail, which is essentially the main artery through the Valley and home to approximately 13 tasting rooms. The area is covered by over 50 vineyards, but most of them are private and solely grow grapes to sell to wine makers. We stopped at many of the tasting rooms along the wine trail, but I absolutely fell in love with Wrath Wines.
Aside from the fact that it’s surrounded by gorgeous vineyards, the Wrath Wines tasting room was not an immediate stunner. That is, until we stepped inside. Once I walked through the front door, I felt like I had entered a hidden oasis.
Inside, the tasting room was modern, simple & bright. We had our dog, Booker, with us and he was immediately welcomed to join us indoors. He quickly became friends with a winery dog named Penny and the two of them chased each other through the vines the entire time we tasted. We decided to grab our first taste and join the doggies outside.
We enjoyed an outstanding line up of Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, and Syrahs while relaxing by the pond. We also ordered a plate of crackers with local, hand crafted Monterey Jack cheese from Schoch Family Farmstead.
The cheese is hand-made just down the road from the winery by the Schoch family who have owned and operated their small dairy since 1944. It was so yummy and paired so nicely with the wine that I hunted it down at The Cheese Shop in Carmel – right next to Wrath’s smaller Carmel tasting room.
Even after spending a couple of hours at Wrath Wines, I didn’t want to leave. The stunning scenery, amazing wine, and friendly people made the whole experience unforgettable. I can’t think of a better place to lose track of an afternoon. Wrath is not to be missed.