Hofsas House Carmel-by-the-Sea: A central, tasty stay

422450_10150590205892639_1292516201_nEarlier this year, the Lady and I had a chance to stay at a continually refurbished gem in one of our fav places on earth: Carmel-by-the-Sea (FB, Tw, IG, YT).  We hadn’t had a chance to stay at the Hofsas House Hotel (FB, Tw, Blog) in a number of years, so we were excited to be granted a media weekend stay at the centrally located property, courtesy of the hotel and Chatterbox Wine Marketing. Family owned and operated for over 60 years, the Hofsas is a longtime landmark for the entire Monterey Peninsula, with its Bavarian charm and singular ocean views atop the hill in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

IMG_5171Longtime Vinopanions know that Carmel-by-the-Sea and Carmel Valley are two very special places for the Lady and I.  Not only is it our preferred weekend getaway spot, but Carmel Valley is also our favorite #wine appellation (ssh, don’t tell my hometown, Napa)!  When we first started visiting Carmel back in 2000, one of the first places we stayed was right there at the Hofsas. We were taken in by the Bavarian styling and beautiful murals by featured artist Maxine Albro, famous for her murals in San Francisco, alongside Diego Rivera’s own. The Theis family has been serving guests with compassion and infectious happiness for much longer than that, but the service has always remained the same. Donna Hofsas founded the hotel in the early 1940’s with her husband Fred.  Fast forward through many beautiful years of management by various family offspring and now Donna’s granddaughter, Carrie Theis has been General Manager since our first year there, in 2000.  Carrie is not just a small business owner in town, she also sits on the city council and has been instrumental in bringing many wine and food-friendly changes to her artistic village by the sea.

IMG_5163The Hofsas sits a couple blocks north of Ocean Ave, on San Carlos Street.  It is easy and very short walking distance to anything in Carmel-by-the-Sea and Carmel Beach, and less than 15 minutes away from everything else on the Monterey Peninsula, including Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach and Cannery Row, Monterey. For this visit, we chose to stay in town and walk all weekend (something very easy to do in Carmel!).  The Hofsas offers many great, very affordable stay packages and we chose the Tail Wagging Package, as we were traveling with our little pug Jasper Tinto.  Carmel is extremely dog-friendly (off leash at the beach!) and with this package we received a number of doggie treats, a dog frisbee, collapsable dog bowl, and a number of dog-friendly tips and recommendations.

IMG_5807The Theis’ were also kind enough to comp us a Wine and Cheese Package as well, which is a phenomenal steal for #winelover’s and #foodie’s. This package includes a bottle of local wine and paired cheeses from another longtime fav, The Cheese Shop, upon arrival.  Another fantastic wine activity is the Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea Tasting Passport (FB, Tw, IG). Normally only $65, this gives you 9 wine flight tastings at any of the 14 participating winery tasting rooms, all just blocks away from each other and the Hofsas, which is a crazy deal. The Wine and Cheese Package plus the Walk by-the-Sea Passport together are only $95. Many of our longtime wine loves are part of the Tasting Passport: Galante Vineyards (WL, FB, Tw) and Wrath Wines (WL, FB, Tw), along with new discoveries Silvestri Vineyards (WL, FB) and the fantastic De Tierra Vineyards (WL, FB, Tw). Paired with the Carmel Food Tours (FB, Tw, IG, YT) which are also available, this here is a wine and food heaven!

We at Vinopanion can’t recommend the Hofsas House any higher, for food lovers, golfers, beachcombers, dog lovers and of course, wine lovers.  Book your summer stay now, before they completely fill up! Cheers!


Madeleine: "A Delicious Drink"

MadeleineI think at this point, it comes as no surprise that I like the wines from Carmel Valley and Georis Winery, in particular.  They’re my favorite winery, in fact, from my favorite appellation.  So, what could be just as awesome as my favorite winery’s, appellation-specific wine?  A new wine from the winemaker from my favorite winery in my favorite appellation, of course! Damien Georis, winemaker for Georis Winery (no relation…maybe) has released the second chapter of his personal label, Madeleine.

Damien Georis has been the winemaker for Georis Winery for the last 3 vintages.  As the story goes, Walter Georis, Renaissance man (surfer, surf musician, artist, restaurateur, winegrower) and art/music/wine leader in Carmel Valley needed a new winemaker.  Like anyone else searching for anything these days…he Googled it, on a whim.

Madeleine: Damien GeorisHe was pleasantly surprised to find another Georis in the wine world and one that was working at Château Olivier, Premier Grands Cru Classé, in the Graves region of Bordeaux, no less!  He gave a ring to the Château and found that Damien had also had a stop at Château Nénin in Pomerol, only the premier wine-growing region for Merlot, which also happens to be Walter’s favorite variety and wine region, as well. A ‘Georis a Georis’ bond was formed and by 2005, Damien was installed in the Valley as the new winemaker for Walter’s own Château.

Also around that time, Damien got the itch to produce his own line of wines.  Taking inspiration from the quote philosopher and theologian Thomas d’Aquin: “La sobriété n’est pas abstinence, c’est la mesure de cette boisson délicieuse” (roughly: Sobriety is not abstinence, it is the measurement of this delicious drink), he endeavored to make the best red wine from the best fruit available for each vintage…Madeleine was born.

Madeleine WineI tasted the first vintage 2005 briefly, while at one of the many glorious Georis wine club events up at the winery in 2007.  I’m already a big fan of Cab Franc, but this medley of red/black fruit, silky mouthfeel and earthy undertones made me a believer of this inaugural vintage!  The second vintage is a different take on, more of an unusual blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, the 2006 Chapitire II, that I received as a sample from Damien the last time we were at the Georis tasting room.  This was somehow an improvement on the luxurious ’05, however.  It featured that same decadent mouthfeel, yet had the balance that I look for in a truly fine wine, with its deep depths of fruit that feature red, black and even blue flavors, coming from the Syrah.  The oak is integrating nicely already and the tannin and acidity scream for a dish from one of Walter’s many great establishments.  The finish is long and peppery, with some tasty black cherry at the very end.  At only $18 a bottle, this has some crazy QPR, grab some while you can as he typically only has a few barrels each vintage!  Future plans for Madeleine include a wider range of wines and a French wine import endeavor…Damien shall be busy, indeed!

Please check out my full reviews of Damien’s wines through the link below, or add them to your own WineLog.  Enjoy!

Madeleine Monterey Chapitire II – Sur Une Nappe a Carreaux 2006

Madeleine Monterey Chapitire I – Reves De Tuffeau 2005