The Perfect T-Day Wine is Pinot from Albatross Ridge

albatross.203513Here’s the deal:  If you are looking for a killer pinot noir to accompany your Thanksgiving bird (it’s the perfect pairing), I’ve got the answer:  the 2012 Albatross Ridge Pinot Noir.  This wine was a selection for our $75 Wine Clubs in November, and we’re getting behind it in a big way.  Priced at $55 at the winery, you can take home three bottles for just $40 each.  We have just 10 cases remaining, so don’t delay.





Here’s the story behind this wine:

Though these days Drew purchases the vast majority of what we offer at Carpe Vino, I’m always on the hunt for tasty stuff whenever I’m on the road in Wine Country (which seems to be just anyplace in California these days).  Back in August, I was visiting a friend and faux cousin, Dan Moffat of Santa Cruz, and ended up having a great wine experience that resulted in a major purchase.

photo 2

Dan and I bonded years ago when we worked in the telecom industry, and we get together more frequently now that we both live here in paradise (that would be California).  During my stay, Dan served as matchmaker and introduced me to Albatross Ridge winemaker, Garrett Bowlus, a water polo teammate of his.

Garrett invited us up to his hilltop vineyard to taste his wines, and the timing of our drive just happened to overlap with the Pebble Beach Concurs d’Elegance.  We pulled over for 20 minutes to watch an entourage of incredible classic cars stream into Carmel.  I’m a life-long car guy, so blending two of my favorite things into one day was heaven.

So was the Bowlus Vineyard, perched at about 1,250 feet, where we sipped pinot and chardonnay with cool breezes in our faces, surrounded by 360-degree views of deep valleys.  Garrett’s grandfather piloted sailplanes off the ridges of Carmel Valley in the 1930s, hence the name and the image on the bottle. . .it is easy to imagine an intrepid adventurer taking flight here.

 Expansive views of fog-shrouded Carmel Valley reach right to the ocean.

Expansive views of fog-shrouded Carmel Valley reach
right to the ocean.

Garrett, 31, is a very big man, and he is totally immersed in winemaking.  In the photos accompanying this piece, you can see how much taller Dan is than me (he is wearing sunglasses).  Yet Garrett towers over in him in the other photo.  If the setting didn’t make me feel small, the company sure did.

We sat in the shade of a huge tree and tasted two vintages each of pinot and chardonnay.   We lingered there for a long time, and Garrett and I compared notes about being part of a father/son team (his dad is his partner).  My gut was this wine had all of the deliverables:  fabulous flavors, great back-story, ultra-limited supply.  I planted the seed of doing a deal, and though it took several months, we eventually came to terms.

One element of the agreement was I would pick up the wine.  Garrett gave me an address in Pacific Grove, which seemed odd to me.  It ended up being his house, and the 25 cases were sitting in his living room.

Now that’s boutique.

photo 3At the end of the day, it’s all about the wine, and this juice transports your palate somewhere it’s never been before.  Actually, the wine has not been released yet; though it has been in the bottle for a year, Albatross Ridge won’t start selling it until later in November.  We’ll be the only retailer in this part of the world, and since we purchased 25 cases, we took almost 10% of the 300 cases comprising the 2012 vintage.

Winery Tasting Notes:  “Bright aromatics of red fruits, red cherry, earth and sandalwood lead into flavors of tart cherry and wild raspberry framed by a long mineral-driven acidity with a touch of spice.”

By the numbers:

Alcohol Level: 13.5%
Cases Produced: 300
Blend:  100% pinot noir
Winemaker: Garrett Bowlus

I’ve got my three bottles reserved for Thanksgiving—just in case we sell out—which is what I expect will happen.  You can come into the shop for a taste, or just embrace my story and give the “Buy Now” button a peck.




Cheers & Happy Thanksgiving,