Bet you thought those vineyards and wineries on the 101 in Greenfield are pretty new. But Scheid Vineyards has been growing grapes there since 1972. That corridor that parallels the 101 has unique weather patterns with ocean air flowing from the Northwest to Southeast, providing such a variety of micro climates that Scheid can grow over 38 grape varieties. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Merlot thrive near the northern part of the corridor while thicker skinned grapes like Bordeaux varietals prefer the warmer pockets to the south.
A trip to the Scheid tasting room in Carmel-by-the-Sea shows you just how different juice can be from these different micro climates. Their Chardonnay grown on this region’s riverbed soil has more melon and other tropical fruit flavors. With less tart citrus than most Chardonnays, a hint of olive emerges probably due to the mellow acids. Two Pinot Noirs are showcased for their unique characteristics. The first is traditionally lean, styled like a Burgundy while another was not traditional at all with big fruit and dank ash flavors from charred barrels. Two Bordeaux blends are also very different but still illustrate the variety and complexity from the terroir. Both have lots of cherry flavor but the blend where Cabernet Sauvignon dominates has more eucalyptus and cocoa while the blend with more Petite Verdot is full of spice and herbs like sage, cinnamon, anise, and fennel. There’s definitely something for just about any palate here.