Best of the Blue

Taxi into Del Monte Aviation’s executive hangar Saturday, November 12th for “Best of the Blue,” a new food and wine event featuring gourmet food trucks, live music, and the latest releases from 50 area wineries.

Participating wineries include the “Who’s Who” of Monterey County winemaking (such as Figge Cellars, Talbott Vineyards and the Bernardus Winery). Local food purveyors—Babaloo, A Piece of Cake, The Pizza Gypsy, Treatbot, Me and the Hound Memphis BBQ, and Lugano’s Swiss Bistro—will serve up the cuisine, ranging from Cuban dishes to cupcakes.

You’ll have a chance to taste seasonal farm-to-table dishes (and get holiday food and wine tips from Williams-Sonoma) while enjoying music by the Cachagua Playboys. The party starts at 1 pm at 100 Sky Park Drive in Monterey. Admission is $60.

(In case you’re wondering, “The Big Blue” is an enormous submarine canyon (sixty miles long and two miles deep) that connects the deep blue sea to the wine growing regions of Monterey, manifesting in fog, wind, moderate temperatures, and lack of rain during the growing season.)

What The Locals Know–Monterey County’s Wine Region

A new generation of wine enthusiasts is being drawn to Monterey County. Monterey County boasts a delightful wine region and it’s due to several factors: The distinctions of our deep underwater canyon, widely varied temperatures, specialized soil types, and wine and food pairing harmony between local fresh agriculture and sustainable seafood from the Monterey Bay, make Monterey one of the stand-out regions that wine connoisseurs and beginning wine enthusiasts are passionate to explore.

These distinctions are described as follows by the Monterey Wine Country’s website:

Blue Grand Canyon–Monterey Wine Country is home to the Blue Grand Canyon™. The Monterey Canyon begins at Moss Landing, in the middle of Monterey Bay, and extends approximately 95 miles. The canyon’s bottom is about 2 miles below the surface, making it comparable in depth to the Grand Canyon. The impact of this natural resource on the grape growing region is significant – guiding the exact location of viticulture areas, the wind pattern between the two mountain ranges in the region, the constant and predictable weather, and the varietals that are grown. Monterey Wine Country stands alone in being in such close proximity to a maritime landmark with such significance to a viticulture region.

Thermal Rainbow–The southeast end of Monterey County, during any given day in July, will approach 90 degrees before noon while the Bay will still be engulfed in fog and 60 degrees. This temperature gradation starts the daily wind that moves the air mass from the bay down the valley—the mid-valley, near the Santa Lucia Highlands and Arroyo Seco AVAs, may never reach 80 degrees. The sun adds heat to the south, while the wind moves the cool air off of the bay. From 2 until 5 the “air conditioner” moves from Gonzales to San Ardo, which produces the cooling effect through the southern end of the County for the rest of the day. This creates the vibrant Thermal Rainbow that makes Monterey unique in the world wine regions of Mediterranean climates.

8 Primary Soil Types–The eight primary viticulture soil types include:
• Lockwood Shaly Loam (28%)
• Chualar Loam (15%)
• Garey Sandy Loam (9%)
• Arroyo Seco Gravelly Sandy Loam (7%)
• Rincon Clay Loam (7%)
• Placentia Sandy Loam (6%)
• Oceano Loamy Sand 95%)
• Chamise Shaly Loam (5%)
This variety of soil types is part of what makes the expanse of Monterey County so special.

42 Varietals–Classy Chardonnay and Elegant Pinot Noir. Aromatic Riesling and Magnificent Merlot. Rich Cabernet and Syrah. From the steep slopes of Carmel Valley to the rolling hills of the Santa Lucia Highlands and Gavilan Mountain Ranges, Monterey stands alone in crafting 42 fine wine varietals of exceptional flavor, character, and balance.
The influences of the Blue Grand Canyon and the Thermal Rainbow allow for such diversity of varietals to be grown.
The leading white varietals in Monterey Wine Country are Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc.
The leading red varietals in Monterey County include Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz, and Cabernet Franc.
Other red grapes of significance include Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Barbera, Valdiguie, Aleatico, Alicante, Dolcetto, Freisa, Mourvedre, Muscat Hamburg, Nebbiolo, Souzao, Tannat, and Tempranillo

Insider’s Tip: Take a day trip along River Road, between Salinas and Soledad, where you’ll find the majority of the wineries. For those who desire to stay close to the comfort of their Cannery Row hotel, kick back and enjoy the offerings of the Scheid Vineyard’s Tasting Lounge and A Taste of Monterey.

What The Locals Know–November Food & Wine Events

If you’re interested in wine, don’t miss The Great Wine Escape Weekend, November 12 – 14, 2010. The Great Wine Escape Weekend is the food and wine event of the year for Monterey County , which in 2009 featured over 50 Monterey wineries, local and national celebrity chefs, and the ultimate travel experience in the beautiful setting of Monterey Wine Country.

Events throughout the weekend include wine and food pairing sessions, wine country open houses and tours, a hidden gem and boutique wine tasting, over 25 winemaker dinners by world-renowned chefs and The Great Wine Escape Grand Finale on Sunday at the Intercontinental the Clement Monterey.

The first day, Friday, November 12, will offer winery open houses, barrel tastings and appetizers, and a winemaker’s dinner. The second day, Saturday, November 13, will offer more winery open houses, a behind-the-scenes winemaking “boot camp”, pairing and tasting events, as well as another winemaker’s dinner. If you aren’t wined out by Sunday, November 14, the event’s third day, you’ll get to visit the winery open houses you missed, and top it off with a culinary showcase at the Clement hotel.

We believe that Bacchus, the god of wine and intoxication, would be proud of this event!

Insider’s Tip: You’ll save money and have more fun if you get the weekend pass. Email, call 831.375.9400 or visit for details.