If you think you’re too cool to stay at a Holiday Inn or Hilton Garden, Bernardus Lodge is the place for you in Carmel Valley Village. Lux dining on site and a relaxing spa may make you never want to leave. But head to their tasting room in the village a few blocks away for a sampling of their estate wines and others grown in the Santa Lucia Highlands.
In Carmel and even Carmel Valley, Bernardus is like the old school high-end leader in wine. They are to Carmel Valley what a staple like Sterling is to Napa. But they actually have good wine. Their Sauvignon Blanc was blended with Semillon for body but it also mellows out the harsh grapefruit and minerality leaving a slight grassy aroma.
Their Chardonnay has red apple and pear flavors with nice crisp acidity and an aftertaste of buttered popcorn. Their Pinot Noir from the famed Pisoni vineyard is full of earth and dirty berry with tart strawberry that is nicely balanced with a bit of spice on the finish.
But their Marinus from the warmer and less coastal Cachagua Valley blends Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc to make a winning Bordeaux. Lovely cherry, oak, and cedar with spice dance in your mouth as you sip your first taste. Then, the long finish brings out eucalyptus, a hint of bell pepper, and tart plum, making you wish you had a big steak to go with this wine. Well done!