Just as baking soda can unclog drainpipes, sparkling wine may help to clear up brain pipes by unlocking poetic talent and dissolving leftover inhibitions. Free your muse with today’s Groupon: for $15, you get wine-tasting flights for two at Caraccioli Cellars in Carmel (a $30 value). The tasting room is open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday–Thursday and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Caraccioli Cellars winemakers source fine grapes from the Santa Lucia Highlands for barrel fermentation, creating a selection of small cuvée sparkling and still wines. Imbibers will sidle up to the tasting room’s thick wooden bar and sample sips from six 2-ounce portions of Caraccioli Cellar’s alternatingly effervescent and pacific offerings. Bubbles dance up out of the Santa Lucia Highlands 2006 brut, a subtly flavored blend incorporating small lots of chardonnay and pinot noir. With hints of oak from the barrels in which it ages, the Caraccioli chardonnay regales taste buds alongside its other still sibling, the smoky and sultry pinot noir, famous for its dramatic asides to the audience in black-and-white televised crime dramas.