Champion Wines at Bernardus Winery

I find trying new wineries exciting but upon discovering the life of Ben (Bernardus) Pon, owner of Bernardus Winery, his background is just as exciting as his fantastic wines! Bernardus Pon had quite the lifestyle before he got into wine….or should I say, before wine got into him! Bernardus Pon was a sports car driver in the 1960’s and drove in the 1962 Dutch Formula One Grand Prix. Then followed that up by participating in the 1972 Olympics as a shooter in the Clay Pigeon division (which Ben came in 31st place). But years later, his love of wine came calling and Ben could not resist his love of that heavenly liquid anymore. He fell in love with Carmel Valley and the Monterey area of California so in 1989, Ben began his grape growing and wine producing career. Ben named the winery after himself “Bernardus” and the rest is triumphant history!

Bernardus Winery is known for its wonderful Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and red blends. This should be enough to entice any wine lover to the winery! The drive to the winery was beautiful being in view of these majestic mountains and vineyards. The tasting room was very quaint with lots of info about Bernardus Winery and other local tasting rooms. There is also a large, festive deck in the back where you can enjoy your favorite glass or bottles of Bernardus wines after your tastings. My wine pouring hostess was Brigid and she was very knowledgeable, accommodating, and fun! There are several different wine tasting flights to try at different price levels but my focus was on tasting the Pinot Noir’s and Chardonnay’s which Bernardus is definitely known for! There are about 10-12 wines available for tasting and all shuffled into different wine flights. All the wines here are glorious but I did have a few favorites:

2018 Signature Griva Sauvignon Blanc – Aroma’s of tropical fruits and grassy notes. Exotic flavors of pineapple, lime zest, and passion fruit. Very bright, fresh, and crisp across the palate. 92 Points and around $30 a bottle.

2017 Sierra Mar Chardonnay – Aroma’s and flavors of mango, apricot, citrus, and toasted oak spice! Very rich and velvety across the palate with a long, crisp finish. Intense but balanced. 93 Points and about $50 a bottle.

2016 Garys’ Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands – Sexy and sultry with seductive flavors of black cherry, ripe raspberry, cinnamon, and herb. Very lush, velvety, and elegant across the palate with a long, alluring finish. It will be hard to go back to other Pinot Noir’s after a glass of this amazing red! 94 Points and average of $80 a bottle.

2013 Signature Marinus – Estate Wine – This beautiful Bordeaux blend was all grown on estate property in Carmel Valley and is 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc. The wines were blended from the best barrels from the best lots from 2013. The nose displays aroma’s of blackberry, black cherry, ripe plums, and spice. Full bodied and intense across the palate but exhibiting elegance and refinement. Super rich with flavors of blackberry pie, sweet cherry, plums, and wonderful spicy cedar notes on the finish! Beautiful, delicious, and graceful. Quite the encore after the other great wines tasted here today! 96 Points and around $125 a bottle….but worth it!

Life is full of twists and turns and great wines seem to help smooth out and unravel many curves on the road on your Grand Prix of life. Not all great wines have exciting histories but it is fun when you come across a few winery owners who have had interesting backgrounds before they made award winning wines too! Check out http://www.bernardus.com and include Bernardus Winery on your next trip to Monterey County in California. If you enjoy Heavenly wines, then you will not forget the wonderful wine experience at Bernardus Winery in Carmel Valley!

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