Scratch Wines, Carmel by the Sea, CA
We were able to visit a second tasting room, during our visit to Carmel by the Sea. Coincidentally, this was another brand we learned about from the Pink Society. Scratch Wines was the featured guest, only days before we arrived in California. Carmel by the Sea isn’t a very big town but Scratch was just down the road from Holman Ranch. During the chat, I had found out that this tasting room is in a shared space with an art gallery, what a great idea! There wasn’t anyone else in the tasting room when we arrived so we had a private tasting with Ally, who happily shared some cheese recommendations to try with the Scratch Wines.
The winemaker for Scratch Wines is Sabrine, who began working with Wrath Wines a few years back. They had an agreement that after she worked for them for a few years, she’d be able to begin her own brand and use their equipment, and along came Scratch. She makes the wine for both brands now but sources different varietals for Scratch so she can mix it up a little. They find it to be a good supportive relationship.
Since Scratch Wines sources their grapes, they had many different grapes as well as AVAs included in their tasting.
2014 Riesling, Arroyo Seco
2017 Rosé, Monterey
2013 KW Ranch Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands
2014 Grenache, Arroyo Seco
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains
The tasting began with a Riesling from Arroyo Seco. There were so many aromas jumping from the glass as we swirled this wine! We identified bright aromas of lemon curd, minerals, chalk, petrol and honey. The flavor was rich, smooth, tart, and round with notes of pineapple, slight caramel and minerals. What a tasty way to start!
The Pink Society says #YesWayRose and #RoseAllDay so we knew this next wine from the chat. How could you forget a wine with a gas mask on it? The labels are definitely a big part of the Scratch Wines experience! They were all commissioned to feature and empower women, a theme they share with the Pink Parties.
I described the rosé aroma as strawberry lemonade which Neil found to be more like flowers, strawberries and acid. This Pinot Noir rosé tasted soft, tart, and fruity with a noticeable acid. Neil thought the flavor was more like strawberry lemonade with a green apple flare.
We continued with a Pinot Noir from KW Ranch, which tasted and smelled pretty different from all the Pinot’s we’ve been trying down in Santa Barbara County. We noticed aromas of earth, smoke, licorice, blackberries and nutmeg. The flavors included berry, cherry, earth, plum, and anise. It was more of an Earth-driven Pinot Noir that we both enjoyed.
The Grenache from Arroyo Seco was pretty bold too. The vineyard is in a location that is warmer than Carmel and their soil is pretty rocky, both of these factors contribute to the big aromas and flavors of the wine. Aromas included black licorice, black pepper, charcoal, earth, berries and steak. As we sipped the wine, that rocky soil certainly comes through in the flavor. There is also big berry fruit, barbecue notes and big spice. This dry wine made Neil describe it as warm and perhaps “giving his tongue a sweater.”
Our final wine of the tasting, was a Cabernet Sauvignon. Neil and I don’t typically gravitate toward this grape but this one really changed our minds. It did smell like a “big Cab” to Neil upon first sniff but there were aromas of dark fruits, black pepper, plum, prunes, raisins and some sweetness, once we thought a little more. The flavors were pretty similar with dark fruit, spice, berries, prune, blackberry and it was dry. We liked it so much that Neil exclaimed “Best Cab I’ve ever had!” I think it reminded me of Zinfandel which is probably why I liked it so much.
Once Ally saw how much we liked the wine, she told us a little more about it. She said this flagship wine is Sabrine’s favorite and uses a premium level of grapes. They actually model this Cab after the Ridge Monte Bello wine that comes from the same region. It didn’t take much to convince us to take home a bottle. Our timing even worked out that we could enjoy it on Cabernet Sauvignon day (only a few days later). Our friends really enjoyed it too!
What a great find with Scratch Wines! I knew there were cool labels from the Pink Party but who knew how much we would enjoy the wines? There was also such a great mix of different grapes. Maybe we should take a second trip to Carmel by the Sea, we’re two for two for tasting rooms. I should check back with the Pink Party to see if they have featured any other wineries here?
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