California, which produces over 90% of the wine made in the United States is such an enormous state, that I thought it might be fun to talk about the lesser known wine producing areas, that are called The Central Coast. While everyone has heard of Napa and Sonoma, the Cental Coast is less well known. Covering an area from the Santa Clara Valley in the north to the Santa Ynez Valley in the south it spans a vast and diverse area.
The Santa Cruz Mountains are full of craggy slopes, hills and valleys, with various microclimates. It is able to grow everything from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. There are about 45 wineries here, including one of my favorites, Ridge.
The Santa Clara Valley spreads down and outward from the Santa Cruz Mountains and has about 20 wineries, including J. Lohr and Mirassou.
Monterey County has over 40,000 acres in vine. Chardonnay is common here (including Caymus and Morgan). Riesling does very well here too. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are the most prevalent red grape varieties. Within Monterey are several small appellations of note, Chalone, Mount Harlan and the Carmel Valley, where world class Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays are produced by wineries like Chalone and Calera.
Heading south from Monterey you will find the beautiful Paso Robles and York Mountain areas. Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Syrah all grow well here. It is an up and coming wine region, with wineries like Eberle and Peachy Canyon making excellent wines.
Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande are relatively small viticultural areas, but they are ideally suited for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Talley and Edna Valley wineries are both very well known.
Santa Maria and Santa Ynez are part of Santa Barbara County, up in the mountains, inland. The cool climate is great for producing Chardonnay, as well as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Syrah. This is where you will find Au Bon Climat, Zaca Mesa, Byron and many more quality producers.
I hope you have the opportunity to tour the Central Coast of California and find out for yourself the amazing wines that are produced there. If that’s not in the cards, come into Maynards Market & Kitchen and I’ll help you pick out a bottle.
Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life’s most civilized pleasures
White Wine of the Month – Cerou, Pinot Grigio, Italy, 2013
This wine has a bright, floral fragrance. The palate is loaded with ripe, yellow delicious apple flavors with a roundup of spices such as white pepper and a hint of vanilla bean.
Red Wine of the Month – Astica, Malbec, Argentina, 2016
This wine offers a pure, fruit-driven example of Argentina’s signature grape. Medium body with juicy flavors and a finish of soft tannins.
Wine Club members please come in and pick up your wines before they’re gone.
Our next wine tasting will be exploring the wines of Southern Italy on Friday, July 7th from 6-8pm. I hope to see you there!
Make reservations today for our next wine dinner showcasing the cuisine and wines of Northern Spain on Friday, July 28th at 7pm.
Sommelier, Maynards Market and Kitchen