Not everyone has history on the Central Coast. But the Blair family has been making wines in the Carmel area for generations. Owner and winemaker, Jeffrey Blair, is continuing the family history and legacy. I met Jeffrey at a Monterey County winemakers gathering. He was pouring his 2017 Rose.' It was so fresh, it hadn't been filtered, labeled, or bottled. But it was a show stopper at the winemakers' tasting.
Jeffrey grew up in Greenfield, just four miles down the road from his grandparents who owned and lived on their dairy farm. His Swiss-Italian family gave him his rich heritage.
All throughout the tasting room are vintage pieces that personify the family story.
Great grandfather was in the Swiss Cavalry. The gourd hanging on the wall once held wine for the soldiers—which at the time was safer to drink than water!
The humble milk jug on the floor was a cache for the family's money. Just before the depression,
Jeffrey's grandfather had a hunch and withdrew all the family's money out of the bank.
He hid it in the milk jug, then cemented the jug in the wall.
Later, that money was used to buy the dairy farm.
Eye catching vintage door handles from the dairy farm are mounted below the tasting room's brass counter--making it a handy spot for tasters to hang their bags and goods while sipping Blair wines.
An oak and glass curio decorates the tasting area.
And rich patina-ed 100 year old redwood from the dairy farm's water tank lines one wall.
Looking at the Ellis Island documents framed on the wall, I couldn't help wonder and imagine. What must it have been like to leave one's whole world behind in hopes of another life?
All of Jeffrey's passion for wine came from his grandparents. His grandfather made wine at the dairy. Grandma Delfina used to cook sauces and foods. She'd have Jeffrey taste her food and have him remedy and adjust the flavors if needed.
This simple, yet loving, practice sparked his ability to use his palate. Instead of relying solely on brix measurements to determine the sugar and ripeness levels of his grapes, he uses his sense of taste—his palate—to check the flavors of his grapes in the vineyard in deciding when to harvest. He is palate driven when he makes his wines as well. (Link to Blair site.)
Jeffrey planted his vineyards on the family dairy property in 2007. Now he continues to manage the vineyards, harvests his grapes, and crafts his Blair wines to have a classic flavor and style.
For the Wines:
One of the biggest draws to Carmel is its wine culture.
Blair Wines can be found smack dab in the middle of it all.
Tasters can anticipate Blair wines to be sophisticated and enticing,
yet discover something new in them each time.
When others out of their way, it leaves an impression.
I think for Jeffrey, his family has left an impression on him.
He pours that gratitude and passion back into his wines.
Best to you as you discover new wineries,
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