It’s not everyday that I get to join on a Sommelier Tour (see the Somm Tour blog post here), so when I was invited on the Santa Lucia Highlands Summer Somm Tour I quickly said yes and started to get very excited. If you’re not familiar, Santa Lucia Highlands is a region about two hours south of San Francisco with one of the best cool climate grape growing regions in California which means amazing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines, two of my favorite varieties.
Fast forward to the first night of the Tour and my amazing visit to Caraccioli Vineyard and an intimate dinner at owner Scott and his wife’s house. See more of this amazing kick off to the Santa Lucia Highlands Somm Tour below…
About Caraccioli Cellars
A family run winery, Caraccioli Cellars takes pride in developing wines that deliver an expression true to vintage and site. Founded in 2006, Caraccioli Cellars’ commitment starts in the vineyard through utilizing solely Santa Lucia Highlands’ grapes. Caraccioli Cellars aims to highlight the quality of their local Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes by producing fruit centric still wines, and Brut and Brut Rosé in their sparkling wine program. Michel Salgues, previously head winemaker at Roederer Estate, is head winemaker and through his techniques and expertise the family vision is precisely executed.
Arriving to the vineyard being welcomed with some delicious sparkling wines. We enjoyed the 2007 Caraccioli Brut Cuve which was lovely. After tasting this wine I knew I was in store for a fabulous evening of incredible Sparkling Wines, great company and Fried Chicken. It’s like they know two of my favorites things together, bubbles and fried chicken!
One of our lovely hosts Sam of Caraccioli Cellars and owner Scott Caraccioli.
We were then surprised with some Caviar. You really can not beat Caviar bumps and this sparkling wine with this incredible stunning view. Seriously is this really work? I am having way too much fun and eating way too well… Thanks again Scott and the Caraccioli Cellars team for this over the top start to our evening..
Next stop was dinner at the Caraccioli residence hosted by Scott and his wife. What an intimate special evening with the group.
I quickly saw that we would be enjoying Fried Chicken for dinner which sounded incredible. The fried chicken was made by Blanchard’s Fried Chicken Master Sommelier and Chef Chris Blanchard.
Chef Chris Blanchard. We had actually met last summer during a Court of Master Sommelier course I took but it was so fun seeing him again in the kitchen preparing this incredible meal.
Hello Fried chicken and Lobster Mac and Cheese!
This was my first plate of food… I think I was the first person to get seconds enjoying a little bit more of everything!
I was excited to get to try the Caraccioli still Pinot Noir during dinner. Surprise surprise, this wine was also heavenly. I may have left it at my end of the table refilling myself a bit as it was so balanced with incredible spice and bold flavors. I don’t typically like a wimpy Pinot Noir and this was by no means wimpy.
Master Sommelier & Chef Chris talking us through the wine. I really felt spoiled this dinner kept getting more and more elaborate with Scott telling Chris to pull whatever wines he wanted from his cellar for us to all taste and talk through.
The lineup of wines the table tasted blind throughout dinner and dessert.
A huge thanks to our hosts for an amazing evening. This will be a night I will not forget and the perfect way to kick off the Santa Lucia Highlands Somm Tour.