When most peoplethink of California wine country, they think Napa Valley and Sonoma County, and considering that these are the largest wineproducers in the Golden State, they are correct in thinking that. However, I’m about to let you in on a littlesecret: There are other great winemakers outside of Napa and Sonoma. I recentlycame across Caraccioli Cellars of the Central Coast and they stole this wino’sheart with their brilliant Brut Cuveé.


Based out of theSanta Lucia Highlands of Monterey County, this new winery had heir firstrelease last spring and is already off to a great start. Light, crisp andrefreshing, their Cuveé left nice notes of citrus and apple on my tongue afterevery sip. It also left me feeling a little giddy…. One of my colleaguesdescribed it as an “explosion of flavors” on his tongue that was tart, yetfruity and clean. It was lovely with strawberries and dark chocolate and goatcheese on crackers but if you had to choose one, I would recommend paring thiswine with fruit.


Aside fromproducing a killer sparkling wine, one of the things that makes this family-runestablishment unique is that they are the only winery producing high-endsparkling wine out of the Santa Lucia Highlands right now. This is surprisingconsidering that the area’s warm days and cool evenings create an ideal climatefor growing sparkling wine grapes.

Even though theCuveé is a little on the pricey side at $52 per bottle, it’s worth the splurgebecause you can taste the quality. You are getting something that isn’tmass-produced and that has been properly aged through a meticulous wine makingprocess.

I also wasdelighted by the Pinot Noir, which was earthy with notes of pepper and tobacco.Caraccioli Cellars also makes Sparkling Rosé and Chardonnay wines which I haveyet to indulge in but hope to knock off my bucket list in the near future.

The bad news: Since this wine is so exclusive, you can only purchase online for select states at

The good news: Caraccioli Cellars is opening a tasting room in Carmel, Ca., and they are also adding additional states for direct shipping.

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