What better thing to do on a sunny Sunday in California, than go wine tasting? (Tasting? Are we really expected to spit it out? I went wine DRINKING.)
The two vineyards we checked out are only 2mi apart in Soledad, CA... the much less touristy, yet just as beautiful wine country that's just 30-45min south of Monterey. Paraiso Vineyards and Hahn Estates are equally idyllic in setting... and their wines are all pretty great. Now, I have to admit, I don't really have much of a palate. I tend to like just about every wine I try. Some I just like more than others.
The tasting is free at Paraiso... and the sommelier was nice and knowledgeable. I know their winemaker personally and he is a BLAST. Unfortunately, he wasn't there. Paraiso has a bunch of trinkety gifty things in their tasting room... some funny cards, beautiful glass, and tasty chocolates. The best part about Paraiso, other than the wine, had to be their free chocolate samples! (Try the mocha truffles.)
You have to pay for tasting at Hahn... unless you buy something. (Which we did, of course) The pouring staff was friendly, entertaining, and tons of fun. After trying just about everything they had open (at no extra cost), we bought a bottle and shared it on the porch. Brian, our sommelier, sent me home with a bag full of Hahn corks and all kinds of free Hahn goodies. (Pens, key chains, bottle stoppers, etc.) He also sent me home with hiccups. Heehee.