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!


Today's Bordeaux BBQ & Le Wine Buff in France!

Le Wine Buff - Enjoy BordeauxOne of the best parts of being Le Wine Buff for Enjoy Bordeaux is that I get to try a lot of very wonderful, high QPR wines from Bordeaux.  Indeed, all five of the Buffs have been very busy filming short tasting videos of each of Today’s Bordeaux: The Top 100 Affordable Bordeaux for 2010.  Later this year we will have 100 Days of Bordeaux and debut a new tasty and affordable wine from Bordeaux each day, all hand-picked by a jury of esteemed wine experts.

During Memorial Day Weekend here in the States, I was able to taste and film 8 of these wines all in one gigantic HD-driven swoop.  Clearly however, this created a major conundrum…what to do with the leftover wine??  Hmm, holiday weekend, sun and no work…DUDE we should BBQ!!  And thus driven by vino need, The Lady and I set about inviting friends over and purchasing copious amounts of food with which to eat with our many bottles of opened Bordeaux.

Today's Bordeaux 2010We had no trouble enticing friends over with promises of good food and great wine, really why would we?  We were all taken by the level of quality in each of these wines, despite coming from many different parts of Bordeaux.  They all paired quite well with almost all of the food that had that day, whether it be salads, snacks or various types of BBQ’d meats.  The biggest comment that I heard was that everyone was taken with the balance that they found in each wine between the acidity (great for food), the tannin and the fruit. Myself, I was enthralled with the 2005 Château Marquis de Terme Margaux.  This wine was showing beautifully that day, filled with deep black fruit, new leather and wet earth that were nicely complemented by the fine but firm tannins and the great acidity.  Yum.

Today's Bordeaux 2010Aside from tasty BBQ’s, exciting developments continue to take place with Enjoy Bordeaux and Le Wine Buff, my dear readers!  In just a couple days I will travel to Bordeaux courtesy of the Bordeaux Wine Council along with my fellow Wine Buffs for a intensive, week-long look into the Bordelais and their wine.  There we will also hook up with the crazy kids from Mutineer Magazine for some filming and background for upcoming articles in that fine mag and also complete the remaining Today’s Bordeaux 2010 tasting videos.

All of the Today’s Bordeaux 2010 wines from that tasty day have been tagged with “LWB2010BBQ” if you would like to log them in your own WineLog.  The photos have also been uploaded to my Flickr.  I look forward to talking about my travels around Bordeaux when I get back.  Cheers!

Les Vignerons de Tutiac Quintet Bordeaux Supérieur 2008

Château Marquis de Terme Margaux 2005

Château Teyssier Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2005

Château Greysac Médoc 2005

Haut-Médoc du Haut Beyzac 2005

La Tour Cordouan Médoc 2005

Château de Bel-Air Lalande-de-Pomerol 2006

Château Haut Mayne Sauternes 2007

As Le Wine Buff for EnjoyBordeaux.com, I am paid a nominal fee for most of my participation.  I also receive free wine samples and my participation on this trip is courtesy of the CIVB.  This post has also been cross-posted at the Enjoy Bordeaux Blog.