Holman Ranch Tasting Room, Carmel by the Sea, CA
We first learned about Holman Ranch during a #PinkSociety #PinkParty (https://twitter.com/search?q=%23PinkSociety%20%23PinkParty) in June. I was fortunate to try out their Susan’s Saignee Rosé during the chat. As I swirled and sipped the wine, I found out more about the 400 acre ranch in Carmel Valley. One of the questions was about the tasting room in Carmel by the Sea. Not only are there many tasting rooms to enjoy in this town, it’s also “by the sea” and beautiful. Well, I was convinced to include Holman Ranch’s tasting room in Carmel by the Sea in our Sideways Wine Tour. We left Paso Robles, driving along route 101 up the California coast, and along the dark and windy roads until we arrived at our cabin in Carmel By the Sea.
The next day began with coffees and snacks on the beach and although it was gray, it was strangely warm. We eased into the day and made our way to town early that afternoon to begin wine tasting. The Holman Ranch tasting room is a rustic gem that brings the ranch to you. We were greeted by Sally and Nick, and we happily told them that we’d tasted their wine during the Pink Party a few months back. Our tasting included wines from Holman Ranch as well as their Jarman Reserve line.
Our hosts told us a little more about the winery and property. Tom and Susan are the winery’s proprietors; therefore the rosé is named after her. Jarman was Tom’s first wife who died of Alzheimer’s. The Reserve line was created to honor her and a portion of the money is donated towards Alzheimer’s research. The grapes used in the Jarman wines are usually from a higher elevation, although all of the grapes on Holman Ranch are grown around 1000 feet elevation. This elevation creates hot days and cool winds near the coast. Holman Ranch is a large property that has horses as well as grapes. The vineyard is actually only 18 acres so they produce about 3000 cases of wine each year. What does that mean to all of us? We should savor their wines, so let the tasting begin.
2017 Estate Chardonnay
2017 Susan’s Saignée Rosé
2014 Jarman Brut Rosé
2014 Three Brothers Pinot Noir
2014 Jarman Pinot Noir
Our first wine, a Chardonnay, is made with new french oak barrels. I picked up crisp, citrus and honey aromas but Neil felt it was more like vanilla and pear. After sipping the wine, Neil picked up apple and vanilla flavors, although I thought it was clean, mineral, citrus and a light wine. Isn’t wine tasting interesting!
This would be our second time trying Susan’s Saignee Rosé so we wondered if it would be familiar. I thought the aromas were crisp, mineral and a light strawberry. Neil also identified the strawberry aromas but added in flowers similar to buttercup as well. He found the wine to be round with lime flavors and described it as very pleasant. It was light and crisp with citrus flavors and an oak finish. Last time we tried this wine, we paired it with cheese and it became even more complex. I liked it better that day with the cheese.
There were two rosés available to taste so we continued on with the Jarman Rosé, a magnum sized bottle prepared with fine bubbles. This sparkling wine was light with aromas of oak and toast. We both enjoyed sipping this wine with its crisp, clean, fruity flavors. This wine had not only citrus but also lots of apple and a nice amount of acid.
Holman Ranch mainly grows Pinot Noir in their vineyard so we couldn’t wait to begin tasting the Three Brother’s Pinot Noir. What a collection of aromas! We picked up berry, raspberry, earth, cherry, a tiny bit of smoke and it was woodsy. The wine had a light to medium body, cedar, vanilla, dark fruit, berries and cherry flavors with a dry finish. We both concurred that it was a pleasant Pinot Noir!
We’d be wrapping up our tasting with the Jarman Pinot Noir, a reserve level wine that is aged for 10 months in mainly one-time-use oak barrels. Since this is new oak, it definitely contributes to the flavor of the wine. We noticed smoke aromas, woody and mahogany notes all from the barrel. The wine had fruit too, strawberry and cassis aromas with black cherry flavors. Neil found this wine to be smooth, balanced and more elegant than the Three Brother’s but I preferred our previous Pinot Noir. In my opinion, this wine smelled like menthol and tasted dry, and tart as well as earthy.
I’m happy we had heard about Holman Ranch that Thursday evening on the PinkParty. Not only did we get to extend our Sideways Wine Tour even farther through California, but also we tasted some nice wines and made our way to Carmel by the Sea. If you have a chance to visit this cute little town, we’d recommend going to the Holman Ranch tasting room to savor their wines and quality olive oils.
Although we didn’t end up pairing our Three Brother’s Pinot Noir with cheese, we did have it during a delicious salmon dinner, see our IG page.