What are the best wines to taste at Bernardus Winery?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Maria Hunt

Of course, the best wines to try at Bernardus Winery — or any tasting room for that matter — depend on your palate. On a recent visit, however, we found that keeping an open mind led us to some new discoveries. Here are some of the best wines to try at Bernardus Winery:

1. 2011 Monterey County sauvignon blanc. This is a New Zealand-style sauvignon blanc, meaning it’s tangy and fruity with soft aromas of passion fruit and grapefruit. There’s just a little bit of semillon grape mixed in, which helps round out the flavors.

2. 2010 Sierra Mar chardonnay. The fruit from the Sierra Mar vineyard creates a rich wine that’s been aged in new oak barrels. It has an aroma that’s a bit like beeswax and honey, with flavors of roasted pineapple and citrus.

3. 2009 Marinus. This is a silky red wine that’s mostly cabernet sauvignon blended with small amounts of merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot and malbec. Rather than being big and powerful like cabernet sauvignon from Napa, this one is smooth like Bordeaux with nice acidity and blackberry, cherry and chocolate flavors.

4. 2009 Santa Lucia Highlands pinot noir. This is classic pinot noir; the cool climate leaves it with great acidity and earthiness, yet there’s still lots of fruit like plum and cherry.

5. Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. A late-harvest dessert wine is made from grapes that are left on the vine an extra-long time. While there, these grapes from the Griva Vineyard attract a beneficial mold called botrytis cineraria or noble rot — the same process that’s used to make the famous dessert wine Sauternes from Bordeaux. This concentrates the flavors in the grape, yielding a wine that’s almost magical. This one is sweet with tangy flavors of apricot, honey and candied Meyer lemon peel.

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