This week we’ll look at one of the newest, largest and best wine regions in California, and a sub-region that excels with one of the country’s top two grape varieties.
A new wine tasting group is forming in Fayetteville. Details later.
My other newsletter, Wine 102, is available for free from the countertops of more than two-dozen wine retailers around the state. In Northwest Arkansas find it at Sunset Liquor, Cheers and Fiesta in Springdale, River Grille in Bentonville and Booze Brothers in Eureka Springs.
Vina Robles Edna Valley Chardonnay
One of the most exciting places today in the world of wine is the central part of California’s Central Coast. New wineries are being built, new vineyards established, and new services for the rapidly increasing number of visitors are constantly appearing.
There are good reasons for this. While Napa Valley is pretty much developed, there’s much more room between Monterey and Santa Barbara. Also, there are many different micro-climates, each friendly to different types of grapes. Some places are warmer, some cooler.
And not only can Central Coast growers grow different types of grapes in different parts of the region—the same grape variety grown in two different climates can yield wines in different styles.
You might have noticed that not all chardonnays taste the same. Some are lighter and crisper, some are fuller and riper. Many fall in between.
I like the style coming today from Edna Valley. It’s about the only California wine region with east-west running mountains that allow cool Pacific breezes to flow inland. Plus, it’s the closest one to the ocean. That means a more even climate, with an extended fall ripening period (two weeks later than northern California), that allows more time for grapes to develop flavor.
A good example in the $18-$20 price range is the Vina Robles Edna Valley Chardonnay from Edna Ranch, 2006 vintage. Pure chardonnay flavors in a clean, balanced style, with an emphasis on fruit accented by oak. Citrus, apple and pear notes, rich yet clean on the palate.