Carmel Valley in Monterey County is tucked away against the Santa Lucia mountains just 11 miles south of beautiful Carmel. It’s a delightful wine country, laid back, with worthy wines and a lot more sunshine than you’ll find on the coast. The warmer climate is good news for reds like Syrah, Zin, Cab and Bordeaux blends. This little appellation offers some great restaurants and about 20 mostly small family wineries making the most of this “secret” wine country.
Added bonus: Very nearby is the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation, world renowned for its Pinot Noir. And if you drive just a few miles further south on hwy. 1, you’ll discover Point Lobos State Park. There’s nothing quite like watching sea otters floating on the kelp beds eating super fresh shellfish. Try a Chardonnay with that?