When it comes to wine in California, the northern regions of Napa Valley and Sonoma County grab most of the headlines. However, along California’s Central Coast lies a fertile region near Monterey that has a number of outstanding wineries. From Steinbeck country in Salinas to Carmel Valley, this region is a must-see for wine lovers.
One of the best wineries in this region is Folktale Winery and Vineyards. Located 5 miles from the Pacific Ocean in Carmel, Folktale Winery and Vineyards has been named the #1 Reason to Visit Monterey by the San Francisco Chronicle. The estate is the former home of the Chateau Julien Wine Estate, which was owned by Bordeaux enthusiasts Bob and Patty Brower. In 2015, winemaker Gregory Ahn purchased the winery and renamed it Folktale Winery and Vineyards with the belief that within every bottle of wine lies a unique story.
Today, Folktale Winery and Vineyards offers outstanding wines made from grapes grown on 300 acres of vineyards in the Arroy Seco American Viticutlure Area (AVA). The winery uses 100% organic farming processes and has installed new raptor perches and owl boxes to control the presence of pests. Led by winemaker David Baird, the winemaking team focuses on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which stand out as some of the best wines in the region.
Folktale Winery & Vineyards’ award-winning wines include the 2016 Folktale Reserve Chardonnay, which received 90 points from Wine Enthusiast in 2018. This white wine is made from grapes from both Escolle Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands and Coast View Vineyard, the latter of which has an elevation of between 2,200 and 2,400 feet in the Gabilan Mountains, allowing for the slow ripening of the grapes. The result is a fruit-forward wine with notes of kiwi, apricot, vanilla, toast, banana, and green apple.
The winery’s other white wines include the 2017 Le Mistral Grenache Blanc, the winery’s first vintage of this grape. The grapes came from Mission Ranch Vineyard in Arroyo Seco, and the result is a fragrant wine with the aroma of Bartlett pear, orange blossom, rose, and the flavors of honeydew melon and English cucumber.
Another award-winning wine is the 2017 Le Mistral Joseph’s Blend, which earned 94 points at the 2018 World Wine Competition. This wine is made from grapes from the Le Mistral Vineyard, which derives its name from the winds of France’s Rhône Valley. Also a fruit-forward wine, the 2017 Le Mistral Joseph’s Blend features notes of raspberry and cherry, and it goes well in the summer with braised ribs and Carolina BBQ.
Pairing Wine with Music
Folktale Winery and Vineyards’ other red wines include the 2014 Talking Animals LOLO Pinot Noir. The wine is named after musician LOLO, who played a sold-out show at the winery’s Live in the Vines event in 2017. A single-vineyard wine made from grapes grown at Mission Ranch Vineyard, this Pinot Noir was bottle aged and features notes of raspberry, black cherry, and rich chocolate. Those who purchase this limited-edition wine receive a free download of a song from LOLO’s live performance in 2017.
Also producing rosé wines, Folktale Winery & Vineyards received the Double Gold Medal at the American Wine Competition for its 2017 Rosé of Grenache Blanc. This soft, elegant wine features the aroma of California spring wildflowers, strawberry, stonefruit, kiwi, and ripe honeydew melon. Another award-winning rosé is the NV Sparkling Rosé, which received 91 points at the California State Fair Wine Competition. This wine, which is made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, features the flavors of tangerine and red grapefruit.
Folktale Winery and Vineyards welcomes visitors for daily tastings, which include a flight tasting guided by one of the wine educators, as well as a tour of the vineyards, cellar, and barrel room. Visitors can also sign up for a wine and food pairing that includes six canapés specifically chosen to bring out the wines’ unique flavors.
can also dine at the winery’s restaurant, which features a wide selection of
appetizers and entrees. The appetizers include an Artisan Cheese Board and an Artisan
Charcuterie Board served with caper leaves, onion jam, homemade pickles, and
black mustard jam. The diverse entrees include Wood Fired Mussels al-la Boston
and Niman Ranch Meatballs, the latter of which pairs well with the
award-winning 2017 Le Mistral Joseph’s Blend. Another unique entrée is the
Roasted Carrot Tacos. This dish is served with jalapeño pea purée, fire-roasted
salsa, chayote squash, and ancient grain crumble.
In addition to hosting tastings and preparing outstanding fare, Folktale Winery and Vineyards hosts a number of events, which include storytelling and live music performances. Before visiting this unique vineyard in Monterey, visit FolktaleWinery.com for the latest information on upcoming events and updates to the winery’s latest vintages and food menu.