Thoughts on Central Coast wines

The good news for lovers of California wine is that there is more quality wine being produced in California than ever before.

And where the headlines were previously dominated by the Napa Valley, today the geographic scope has widened to include many nooks and crannies up and down the state.

Many experts, for instance, are really lauding the Central Coast, from Monterey on down to Santa Barbara.  The wine media is further supporting that thought with many high ratings and acclaim for the regions’ wines.

To be more specific, I am especially excited with the limestone/silaceous clay soiled pockets of Santa   Barbara and Paso Robles.

Santa Barbara has a east west mountain configuration, which channel the cooling ocean breezes inward.  Coupled with the more meager, once maritime soils, the combination makes for a long growing season and tremendous potential for producing worldly wines.

I am continually astounded at the growing number of truly superb Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and Syrah coming out of the various sub-regions of Santa Barbara today.  A few of the real standouts for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir worth checking out include Au Bon Climat, Alta Maria, Brewer Clifton, Costa de Oro, Sandhi, Domaine de la Cote, Melville, Ojai and Native9.  For stellar Syrah look for Autonom, Ojai, Stolpman and Samsara just to name a few.

In addition, there are also a growing number of quality oriented wines now being produced in the region from Italian grape varieties which are not only tasty and interesting, but also really work well with Italian-Mediterranean inspired foods.  The top 2 labels in this category are Palmina and a tiny bit under the Clendenen Family label.

I would highly recommend wine enthusiasts check some of these wines out before the prices skyrocket and the availability becomes scarcer.

I would also suggest wine lovers check out the dozen or so stellar Paso Robles winemakers excelling in growing and crafting intriguing, well textured and unique Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre & Tempranillo red wines in the area.  Wineries well worth checking out include Epoch, Denner, Graves, Four Vines, Graves, Linne Calodo, Terry Hoage, Saxum & Villa Creek.

There is even more good news for wine lovers!  “Insiders” are touting California’s 2012 vintage as something truly special. We have been anxiously waiting for these wines for nearly two years.  I wish I had a dollar for every winemaker I have spoken to who just gushed with superlatives for their 2012 releases.  These are just now starting to come to the Islands.

It is really a good time to “buy American”.  Hopefully now you will be curious enough to do so.

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