Tourists from all parts are drawn to the coast like they’ve never seen the color blue before. Whatever language they speak, there’s something about gazing out at the land’s end that makes them stop and sigh. Cool ocean breezes and a mist in the air is also what Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines love to be near. The Albatross Ridge vineyards are the closest vineyards to the coast in Carmel Valley so they naturally grow these grapes with a bounty of flavors that rise from planting grapes in the most suitable environment. In their small tasting room downtown, they pour several of these coastal varietals that grow at different elevations and distances from the ocean so you can taste the flavors that represent a location.
Explore their unfined and unfiltered wines (even if you’re a vegan) for genuine fruit flavor with little manipulation. Theirs is one of the most uniquely different Chardonnays discovered on this journey. It started with a pineapple and creme brulee body but had a whiff of seashells or sea salt minerality. A rose of Pinot Noir is as refreshing as watermelon at a sunny picnic. But their two Pinot Noirs allow you to taste how the volcanic soil near Soledad produces a darker juicer and more meaty wine. Both Pinots have nice crisp acidity that holds its nice plump fruit together. But ripe cherry and black currant fruit flavors in the first Pinot allow for more oak flavor to emerge like vanilla, nutmeg, and caramel. Taste side by side if you really want to be blown away.