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2012 Monterey Winemakers Celebration: August 11, Monterey, CA

monterey_20_festival.jpgThere is a reason that I post announcements of large public wine tastings here on Vinography. They can be a lot of fun, of course, but more importantly, they are the single best opportunity that any wine lover has to educate his or her palate. There are simply no other occasions where so many high quality wines are available for the tasting in a way that allows someone to compare wines of similar grape variety, origin, and vintage. And these comparisons are invaluable to building an understanding of these key variables in wine -- what does a certain grape tend to taste like? What are wines from a specific place generally like? How does the vintage affect wine?

While some tastings provide the opportunity to focus on a single grape variety or group of grapes, all rendered by different winemakers, others provide a chance to go in-depth for a specific region.

Which brings us to the 20th Annual Monterey Winemakers Celebration. Monterey represents a unique and often overlooked wine region in California. Home to nine distinct AVAs (Monterey, Santa Lucia Highlands, Arroyo Seco, San Lucas, Hames Valley, Chalone, Carmel Valley, San Antonio Valley, and San Bernabe) Monterey offers a diverse set of microclimates, and a wide variety of resulting wines, many of which are very good, and many of which are very good values.

Few opportunities exist to experience so many of these wines side-by-side, which makes this annual festival a goldmine for anyone interested in what the region has to offer.

The festival consists of more than 40 wineries pouring hundreds of wines to the sounds of a local jazz band and alongside various food purveyors. It takes place in a rather pretty outdoor shopping area of Carmel, and also features a silent auction and the opportunity to buy many of the wines that are available for tasting.

Carmel By the Sea is an idyllic (if bustling with tourists) little town this time of year, so a trip to this festival would make a great weekend outing for anyone wanting to combine a trip to the seashore with some good wine tasting. At $35, the tickets are priced right, too.

20th Annual Monterey Winemakers Celebration
Saturday, August 11, 2012
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
The Barnyard Shopping Village
Carmel, CA 93923 (map)

Tickets for the event are $35 in advance, $45 on the day of the event, and they can be purchased in advance online.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud