On your way south to Carmel the next morning, stop at Morgan Winery, tucked into a shopping area just outside of downtown. Bright and airy, taste both Morgan and Lee Family Farm wines including the 2008 Double L Syrah and the 2008 Garys’ Pinot Noir.
From there, it’s a five minute drive to the picture perfect (and one of the pet friendliest) towns – Carmel-by-the-Sea. This charming enclave is home to shopping, galleries, cafes and a captivating beach. Enjoy lunch at Cantinetta Luca with its colorful interior, brick lined walls and wood-burning oven. The classic Italian food is simple and rustic. Eat the best grilled king prawns with corona beans, roasted peppers and salsa verde; house made salumes, and a funghi pizza with criminis, spinach and gorgonzola. Matched with vibrant Italian wines, it is heaven.
Wine tasting in Carmel is easy – stroll the streets and courtyards and stop along the way.
- Figge Cellars: The 2009 Pelio Chardonnay, 2006 Syrah and 2008 Paraiso Pinot Noir are not to be missed.
- Cima Collina: Favorites include the 2005 Hilltop Estate Pinot Noir and 2009 Tondre Grapefield Riesling.
- Caraccioli Cellars: Love the 2006 Brut Cuvee, 2008 Chardonnay and 2007 Pinot Noir.
- Galante Vineyards: Enjoy the 2005 “Blackjack Pasture” Cabernet, 2008 “Olive Hill” Petite Sirah and an interesting blend in the 2007 Grand Champion.
Essentials: Getting There:
Monterey & Carmel, CA: about two and one-half hours south of San Francisco. Route 1 South on a clear day is exceptional. More direct is 101 South to 156 West to 1 South.
Tourist Information: www.carmelcalifornia.com; www.monterey.org.
Samsonite Wind Guard Umbrella: 800-593-5251, www.csnstores.com. Protects against the wind; automatic open/close; fits in your bag. $26.99.
Verilux ReadyLight Flashlight: 800-454-4408, www.verilux.com Solar powered, rechargeable, durable, light weight. $29.95.
Caorunn Gin: Scottish, handcrafted, small batch, delicious.
Hovercraft 2 In-Flight Bag: 800-962-4943, www.magellans.com. Multiple compartments; fits under the seat; made of ballistic nylon. $82.50.