Monterey: The Best Wine Region You Haven’t Heard About

When people talk about the Monterey wine region, they don’t typically speak in the reverential tones that one reserves for say, the like of Napa. It simply hasn’t yet achieved the fame. But there’s something about Monterey that I love–the untapped nature of it, and the raw potential it possesses. The soils, climate, topography and sunlight align fortuitously for cooler climate winegrapes like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling. And it’s only just beginning to take off.

Beyond the wide arc of potential, there’s the economic factor. I like to call myself a “wine populist,” because I believe that everyone should be able to afford a decent, expressive bottle of wine. Monterey is poised to do exactly that: provide wine at a quality level that exceeds the expectations of the price point.

Pinot Noir in particular is a case in point. Prices for this minx of a red wine have risen dramatically in areas like the Russian River or Santa Rita Hills, largely because of land values but also because of fashion. When the wine cognoscenti raises a flag of excitement, people rush to get the bottles and prices rise.

So what’s a wallet-challenged Pinot lover to do? Seek out areas that lie under the radar, places like Fixin in Burgundy, or Monterey, where the fleshy textural qualities, plum/berry flavors and complex earthiness of the wines over-deliver every time.

I mean really…who doesn’t thrill to an insider value? Discover it before everyone else finds out.