Our next stop along the way was to Bernardus, a winery that began because of the owners love for red wines of the Bordeaux region. The family fortune comes from the owner’s father who became the exclusive importer for German cars (VW, Audi and Porsche) after World War II. The vineyard area consists of about 300 acres spread over six estates, of which 58 are planted. Bernardus is not available in Ontario, so you’ll have to live vicariously through these notes. Stanley, our wine jockey and lexicon about all things Bernardus (and, it seems, Monterey County) took us through a tasting of a dozen or so wines with a real enthusiasm for each and every one, and he was not afraid to point out his favourites along the way and tell us why. Best White: 2009 Sierra Mar Chardonnay ($40.00) a wine made from grapes in only their third leaf, aged 10 months in a 50/50 blend of new and used French oak. For a wine made with such young grapes this wine shows some real finesse and delicacy, not overpowered by the wood, there is a real suppleness on the palate and lovely fruit; the piece-de-resistance is the Wurther’s candy finish that just keeps going and going and going (**** ½). Best Red: hands down it was the single block, single vineyard 2004 Swan Block Merlot ($125.00), this is a real unique wine for this winery as they do not expect to ever be making such a wine again, but the fruit was just so good this year that the winemaker insisted. Aged 20 months in a 50/50 blend of oaks (new and used) and then rested 2 years in bottle before release. Very smooth with blackberry, blueberry, cassis and milk chocolate, still has some nice tannins on the finish (**** ½). Only 350 cases produced.
Wines Scored – (in Order of Tasting): ... To read about this part of the tour and see some of the pictures, click here
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