A picturesque trek down Carmel Valley Road leads you to the gates of Boekenoogen Vineyard and Winery (24 West Carmel Valley Rd), a family-owned, 2500-3500 cases per year winery. The tasting room has a rustic, cozy ambience that’s uniquely ideal for a tasting atmosphere. The counters, or bars, are discrete in their presence, but still quite inviting. I was helped by Holly Boekenoogen, owner John Boekenoogen’s daughter, and Director of Marketing. She told me about the winery’s history, how John, in 1998, converted the family ranch at the peak of the Santa Lucia Highlands into a vineyard, and opened the tasting facility in 2008. The rest, yes, is history.
Upon immersion into the calmness, if you look off to the left, you’ll see a shelf offering an impressive array of dips and oils, logo glasses, and cool merch’. The other shelf displays shirts and hats that read: “Boekenoogen…Hard to say, easy to drink.” If you want to bring a lunch, they encourage you to do so, with their secluded patio offering umbrella’d shade and a fire-pit for colder moments. In an ever-growing facet of the wine industry, family-run operations, this beacon offers a classy and appealing style of wine with refined balance and constancy. Their palate approach, especially with the pinots and syrahs, is wonderfully universal and refreshing. No overt notes or tannic shocks.
Oh yeah, the wine.
Two chards, one stainless and the other labeled “barrel fermented.” The latter was poised and graceful with its buttery notes. After that, Holly took me two a young 2008 pinot noir Dijon/Pommard clone blend. This wine, with its “soft unctuous texture,” as stated on the menu, would appeal even to people claiming to hate pinot. Then, there was the ’07 pinot followed an ’08 Santa Lucia syrah and an ’08 Carmel Valley Estate syrah. Both syrahs were beautifully different, and great for consumers looking for a wine to pair with more robust and flavorful dishes. The finale, an ’08 Carmel Valley Estate petite sirah, showed great note arrangement and lay-down potential.
Not too far from the ocean, and in an attractive destination spot in Carmel Valley, this is a must not miss experience in family wine. Boekenoogen Vineyard and Winery boasts a great price point and even better hospitality, which isn’t that much of a surprise seeing as they treat everyone like family.
Visit Boekenoogen on Facebook. Sip, sip…