Art and wine have so much in common. In some cases, these two creative expressions share a space. One shining example of such synergy is Scratch Wines in Carmel. Go through one door and enjoy fine wine and fine art, at the same time!
It was a rainy day in Carmel and we were well into our wine tasting tour list. As we were tasting, we were also collecting recommendations from wine guides and fellow tasters for favorite tasting rooms nearby. This has served us well in the past, and it paid off once again with several solid suggestions. The Scratch Wines tasting room was mentioned by enough people that we moved it to the top of our list. So many people can’t be wrong!
We walked about a block from our previous tasting at Dawn’s Dream and made a louder entrance than normal as I dropped one of our accumulated bottles of wine onto the tile floor. Through some miracle, the bottle did not shatter, but everyone in the tasting room certainly knew that we had arrived. We sheepishly found some seats by the tasting bar and tried to blend in.
Wine guide Ali greeted us and assured us that no one noticed our noisy entrance. Gracious, if not entirely accurate. She told us a bit about the winery and got us started on our tasting. We learned that Scratch Wines produced small-lot wines from grapes sourced from around the area. Winemaker Sabrine Rodems’ background in the visual arts was clearly expressed in every aspect of the space. Even the wine bottle labels were artistic, created by Oakland graffiti artist Eddie Colla.
We started our tasting flight with their 2014 Riesling from Arroyo Seco. We enjoyed the mango and lemon notes in this not-too-sweet Riesling. The 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir was an immediate hit with both of us, jumping to the top of our “take home” list. Pomegranate and floral notes led the way in this surprisingly mature wine.
Next was a 2013 Pinot Noir from the KW Ranch Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. This wine got our attention with rhubarb and spice notes, with some smoke on the finish. We decided this would pair well with turkey and stuffing. Their 2013 Grenache, again from Arroyo Seco, intrigued with aromas of petrol, mint and peanuts and flavors of plum, prune and pepper leading to a clean finish.
Wrapping up our flight was another hit: their 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. Not an old-school Cab, this was a party in a glass! Starting with spice and tannin zip, with layers of fruit and coffee on the back end, we added this to our take home list. Note to self: don’t decant this, it is amazing fresh out of the bottle.
We purchased our wine from Ali and spent some time admiring the art pieces in the back of the space, We noticed a break in the rain, so it was time to jog to our next tasting. This time we’re hoping not to drop any wine!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?