Bernardus Pinot Noir & Friends…

The first weekend of October has brought cooler weather, cute little pumpkins to buy, and a visit by our good friend (and old neighbor from San Diego) Justin! He’s an excellent food photographer, Freelance Web Designer, and cook. Be sure to visit his website, for gorgeous food photos/recipes & find him via Twitter @spskillet. And, he was kind enough to bring a bottle of Bernardus Pinot Noir to share!


The 2014 Pinot Noir was excellent. I could drink this every day.

Taste a Dream

The 2014 Pinot Noir was light to medium-bodied, nicely balanced, with subtle earthy, forest floorhugged by a smidgen of tartness. It even looked pretty, complimented by a gorgeous, light ruby color. It’s an all-around solid California Pinot, able to be paired with just about anything. The winery is located in Carmel Valley, California, founded by Bernardus Marinus Pon (Ben Pon). Born & raised in Holland, the crest of his wine label is the royal Dutch color of orange. The noble lions guarding the shield represent his heritage (and impressive name;). On the cork, “Taste A Dream” is written, and per their website:

“Ben Pon’s dream is to create a Carmel Valley red wine equal to the finest from Bordeaux. It is a dream based on the foundation of tradition.”


I love Fall. This Pinot could be enjoyed any other season, but was particularly wonderful this time of year…

We really enjoyed this bottle, and their “Taste a Dream” philosophy is one I can appreciate & support! Bernardus does not ship to AZ as of yet, so just one more reason to plan a visit to their tasting room! They’re open daily from 11-5 and it’s $12 for a flight of 4 wineslooking forward to trying their Cab & Estate Blend as well.

Fun Fact: Corks double as cat toys and usually find themselves on the floor…


Tiggy (aka: The Weasel) caught in the act.

Supporting local is always a good idea.

Of course, when in Arizona, one must try Arizona wine, so Justin had no choicehis arm was twisted and he was taken to Carlson Creek’s tasting room. There are a lot of great, local AZ wines/wineries to support, but one of my favorites is Carlson Creek. I’ve written about them before, but they’re deserving of extra mention. This cool (cool as in nice & also nice air-conditioning), friendly tasting room is my new go-to when friends are visiting from out of town. We had an excellent tasting, including a surprisingly light, crisp, delicious, Gold Medal winning, Chenin Blanc. Their Rule of Three, a Chateauneuf de Pape inspired GSM blend of 50% Grenache, 23% Syrah, and 30% Mourvèdre, was the overall favorite.


The best thing about wine tasting is finding new, unexpected wines to love—even when you thought you wouldn’t!

Being able to enjoy wine, paired with friends, is dreamy on its own… Cheers!


Me, Marcin (the husband) & Justin

 *Tip Alert!  One way to remember what bottle you shared with friends is to have everyone write their name on the cork, add the date, place, or any other little detail you can fit, & keep them as little journal entries in a glass jar!

Wine Diary




I write about wine as well as the unique stories behind each label. I'm a R.D.H. with an applied science degree in dental hygiene, and have been geeking out about wine for over 20 years. Before obtaining a Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) certification, I learned about wine just by trying different styles and regions. I've also worked with a local distributor in wine sales. Wine brings people together and makes the world a smaller, friendlier place... Cheers!


Justin @ SaltPepperSkillet

Such a fun weekend! Can’t wait to do it again and enjoy more wine. 🙂



It was! You guys come back anytime please!


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