Carmody McKnight Estate Wines

Published June 30, 2013

Talk about karma! The owners of Carmody McKnight Estate Wines knew this was the land to purchase even 50 years ago before any neighbors or wineries arrived because they crash landed on it. Gary Carmody Conway emerged from the helicopter wreck and announced to his real estate broker aboard, “I’ll take it.” Since then, he sold part of the land to his neighbor, Justin, who wanted to grow grapes on its volcanic soils. Although the land was once covered by the ocean, it contains 3 dormant volcanoes, giving it the most nutrient soil for vines. When Gary tasted the delicious Justin wines, he planted his own grapes. Sometimes it is OK to covet your neighbor.

Carmody McKnight Estate Wines’¬†winemaking style is more than minimalistic. Gary is even known to say “this is like the wine Jesus served at the last supper” because they do not use additives. They are also one of the few wineries I’ve found that make a rose out of Merlot. Their Merlot Blanc is a big rose, even a little chewy but a great alternative to a red wine on a hot night. Serve it chilled with just about any food.

Some say you can’t grow Pinot Noir in these parts. But Carmody McKnight Estate Wines’ vineyard is so far out (west, I mean) they get an ocean breeze. As the crow flies, I guess the ocean is only about 10 miles west of them but you’d have to drive down to Cambria to get to Highway 1 since there is no way through the mountains. But their Pinot is delightful with the cherry and strawberry you get from coastal Pinots yet a hint of plum. It also has great body with a hint of spice and even licorice.

They also have one of the few Petite Verdots that is not blended. Cult followers of this grape will love its ruby color and silky structure with a bit of pepper. Their Cadenza is a Bordeaux blend has majestic plump fruit with amazing balance.

More appellation adventures in this region.


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