California wines (III)-Central Coast and the Central Valley

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Today let’s continue to look at other important Californian wine regions in the Central Coast and the Central Valley.

Image: Red grape crush, photo courtesy of Wine Institute of California

• Monterey County

Consists of several AVAs, Monterey County is an important agricultural and wine region in California. The comparatively cooler and drier weather helps to produce outstanding Chardonnays. Quality Cabernet Sauvignons are also produced here.

• Santa Cruz

This is another cooler wine region in California with diverse climate and soil conditions. Pinot Noir has been plated here for a very long time; but Santa Cruz made its name mainly from its elegant-style Cabernet Sauvignons. Zinfandel and Chardonnay produced here are also excellent.

• Santa Barbara County

Being the most famous AVA in the Santa Barbara County, Santa Ynez Valley is an extreme example of the geographic diverseness of Californian wine regions. The lower and cooler south of this windy AVA is suitable for producing excellent Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling, and the finest wines are usually made from vineyards that face away from the wind.

• San Luis Obispo County

The most famous AVA in the San Luis Obispo County is Paso Robles, which used to produce extremely tannic, heady Zinfandel, and nowadays known for its rich, ripe Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

• Central Valley

The massive, highly productive inland region is responsible for the majority of bulk wines produced in California. In order to satisfy the national thirst for the once-highly-fashionable White Zinfandel, the Zinfandel grape is widely planted in this region. The lack of fruit flavours and concentration caused by high yields in Central Valley are normally compensated by blending, yet still tend to produce wines with little character, lower quality and a cheap price-tag.

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