Probably the biggest surprise from Monterey County wines is how multifaceted and deliciously versatile their Pinot Noirs have become. Reading about how similar the Santa Rita Hills are to Burgundy, one assumes those are the tops. While they are delightful in their classic style, Monterey County has all its own characteristically succulent Pinots that deviate from the classical with beauty and provocative confidence.

In downtown Carmel, Wrath serves two completely different styles of Chardonnay that are worth comparing. One has tropical fruit of zesty pear and ripe pineapple with a body of banana and vanilla sweetness. The next has apricot and creamy lemon with an aroma of toasted vanilla. You may doubt they are even the same grape.

Wrath’s whole cluster fermented Pinot Noir not only has the standard earth and spice that make Pinot followers light up. It’s also got tremendous cherry, berry, and plum with layers of eucalyptus, cola, and light pepper. A long finish fills your mouth with velvet, reminding you of its brilliance.

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