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!


TasteLive! – Grillin' Some Chard(onnay)

TasteLive!Backyards and BBQ’s are known as tha bomb during the summer.  Indeed, there should some sort of official right of passage, whereby one has enjoyed a tasty, home-hosted BBQ by the time one comes of age.  And it becomes that much better when paired with wine. Trust me.  I mean, microbrews and certain import beers are cool and all, but BBQ beef with a great Rhone or Syrah and BBQ chicken (beer battered!) with a tasty Chardonnay pretty much makes my day…or my week, even.

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TasteLive! (Twitter, WineLog), the premiere social network for online, Twitter-based virtual wine tastings, is back at it again this week, with a great online tasting tomorrow night (07/12/11) at 6pm – 7pm PST.  Here we’ll try three Chardonnay from California that have the complexity, weight and fruit that can stand up to the awesome BBQ spread that you should have at your table some weekend this summer.  Two of these wineries had wines in the last great tasting in which I was able to participate, courtesy of my samples from the website.  If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from tasting the Pinot and Chardonnay from these four wineries, I’ve been most impressed by the still wines produced by Gloria Ferrer Winery (Twitter, WineLog).  Their wines not only show a high level of value and QPRWK, but they also plain put out the good stuff in wine: they’re sensual and balanced, with restrained power.

You can find all of the wines that we’re tasting tomorrow night for listing in your own WineLog, tagged with “TasteLive2011ChardGrill“.  All of the wines that I’ve tasted during TasteLive events over the years can be found tagged with “TasteLive“.  Even if you don’t have the wines handy, log on to Twitter and catch the #tl_wine stream and participate!


QPRWK - WKBadges Gloria Ferrer Carneros Estate Chardonnay 2008

Color: Deeper yellow with green highlights and clear edges.

Nose: Very bright, happy pear juicy yellow apple with more subdued Meyer lemon and some interesting basil leaf and lightest cream.

Palate: Medium full, with great acidity that is brought out by the Meyer lemon here as well and a roundness that adds some smooth, slightly creamy complexity. Juicy bright pear and yellow apple here as well, finishing with riper pear and the lightest toast. Good.

Krutz Family Cellars Santa Lucia Highlands Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay 2008

Color: Deeper yellow gold, light gold edges.

Nose: A bit more toast here, with some tasty nectarine and pear skin followed by some cream strolling in and light pear.

Palate: Fuller and very round and super-smooth, with light green and yellow apple, medium cream but bright acidity with pineapple to balance out the cream and the medium toast out to the finish. Good.

Rodney Strong Vineyards Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay 2009

Color: Deeper canary yellow with golden undertones, viscous.

Nose:  Butter and toast, with ripe, preserved pears underneath and lemon meringue.

Palate: Full and very buttery and toasty here as well, with tons of those pears from the nose along with yellow apple pie out to the buttery and toasty finish. A viscous, coating mouth with juiciness, but an imbalance is here, with the acidity unable to hold up to the toast and butter.