Author Archive | Laura Ness

Best of Monterey Goes to Ghost Hull Cabernet at Monterey Wine Competition

March 12, 2019 – The 26th annual Monterey International Wine Competition gave the crown for Best of Monterey County to Ghost Hull 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon from San Lucas Vineyard, $42.99, with 96 points. This wine, produced by Scheid Family Wines at their Greenfield winery, impressed the judging panel as well as the Chief Judge, Rich Cook, who runs the competition.

It’s yet another confirmation of the winemaking prowess of this once grower-only company, that began planting vineyards as tax writeoffs back in the early days of Monterey wine country. Who knew? It’s from the San Lucas Vineyard, in the San Lucas AVA, about 20 miles south of the Scheid winery facility. With over 1k cases made, it is currently sold in Kroger stores all over the country.

It looks … Read More

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Two New Wine Bars Open in Carmel Valley

March 5, 2019 – All of a sudden, there are two new wine bars in Carmel Valley Village. Just like that. Neither one has a kitchen, (neither does Wine House), so the emphasis is big on wine and small on food. 

Village Wine & Tap Room, formerly “The Tasting Experience,” is owned by Jessica and Michael Trask, who aim to showcase local winemakers who don’t have tasting rooms. They carry an array of limited production wines that are exclusive and hard to find. The place is at 19 E Carmel Valley Road suite G, next door to Windy Oaks at the east end of the Carmel Valley Village. It’s in the same block as Parsonage, Chesebro, Rexford and Ian Brand. 

Their soft opening is scheduled for this Friday, March … Read More

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ROAR Moves to Castroville

February 26, 2019 – In a decidedly clean-looking industrial area off Blackie Road in Castroville, the sight of that magnificent wrought iron gate with the gleaming gold lion emblazoned upon it, stops you in your tracks. This isn’t just another boxy warehouse building: this is an edifice with purpose as well as class. Walk up to the imposing wooden front door, and you feel like you have arrived at a nobleman’s castle. You just hope he’s the welcoming type. I thoroughly expected to be greeted by an 8-foot tall knight clad in armor and fronting a spear. In fact, when ROAR winemaker Scott Shapley opened the massive door, I tucked carefully behind it, just in case. I needn’t have worried, but admittedly, the entire structure is incredibly imposing. Only the … Read More

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2019 Off to Banner Start For Ann Hougham of Mesa Del Sol

January 22, 2019 – Ann Hougham of Mesa Del Sol came home with a Judge’s Choice win for Best Red Wine for her 2013 sangiovese from the Fungus Faceoff this past weekend, the annual mushroom-centric feast held at The River Inn this year to benefit the Big Sur Health Foundation. She couldn’t be more thrilled. “Bowled away!” was her comment. Well-deserved kudos!

Hougham also received word earlier this month that Mesa del Sol had been chosen to receive the 2018 Best of Greenfield Award in the Wines category by the Greenfield Award Program. Congratulations on that honor, too.

It certainly appears that the New Year is off to a fresh and shiny start for Hougham. Just before the ongoing government shutdown/letdown/paralysis commenced in December, she received news from the United … Read More

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Medals for Monterey County Wines at SF Chron Competition

January 15, 2019 – Judging the 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is a marathon of commitment. You spend three and half days judging this competition, whereas others usually entail just a single day or at most a day and a half. That’s because there are over 6,800 entries to evaluate, from all over the world, at what is the largest wine competition held in the United States.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, as this was my first time judging at the Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds, where the competition has been held since it began. Initially, it included just wines from Napa, Lake and Sonoma counties, gradually adding all of California, and then Oregon, Washington, New York and Virginia. Eventually, it expanded to include wine from all over the world, … Read More

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