Sierra Foothills – Intl. Comparison

California’s Central Coast is very much the opposite of its Sierra Foothills: Maritime climate on the coast ~ Continental climate in the mountains; minimum diurnal fluctuation at the coast ~ big daily temperature change in the mountains; very little rain in the Central Coast ~ lots of it in the Sierra Foothills; most of all a very long growing season on the coast ~ very … Continue reading Sierra Foothills – Intl. Comparison

Sierra Foothills – U.S. Comparison

When talking wine styles in the Sierra Foothills, one size does not fit all. Grapes grown at different elevations will have different style characteristics. Those from the highest elevations (2,000 feet up to 3,600 feet) will have the most natural acid, the least body (read alcohol), often lighter color, and frequently the most lifted floral-tinged aromas. Because of their natural acid, these high elevation wines … Continue reading Sierra Foothills – U.S. Comparison

Sierra Foothills History

When the Gold Rush began in 1849 there was a legitimate fine wine business beginning in Sonoma under the tutelage of Mariano Vallejo, there were just remnants of the Missions’ religious wine effort (1770’s to 1820’s) throughout the Central Coast, and the primitive first secular vineyard of Jean Louis Vignes on the Los Angeles River was about to be expanded by German and (yes) Mormon … Continue reading Sierra Foothills History

Sierra Foothills Seasons

HARVEST ~ SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER Visiting any wine producing region during harvest is both exciting and a little off-putting. The winery people do have other priorities when grapes start arriving at the crusher. My choice for best place to be during harvest is the Sierra Foothills. For one thing the drama of weather, and its effect on the year’s grape crop, is more intense above … Continue reading Sierra Foothills Seasons

The Concept of Terroir

The concept of terroir in wine is fascinating; also fairly complicated. The idea is that cuttings from the same grape vine grown in two separate vineyards will produce wines that taste differently. Okay, I’m on-sides so far. But why do they taste differently? Thirty-five years ago it was common for sellers of French wine to say the soils in the various vineyards were the primary factor … Continue reading The Concept of Terroir

Carmel Walking Tour

TASTE MORGAN Best all-stainless Chardonnay in the business. All the wines are well-balanced and fruity, but with a track-record for bottle-aging. PN and CH from top vyds in the Highlands. Grassy SB; wonderful Riesling. WRATH As in Steinbeck’s Grapes of …   Originally TX oil money. Own some 70 acres in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Friendly tasting room and some pretty good PN at modest prices. … Continue reading Carmel Walking Tour

New World Albariño. Hope You’ve Got a Thick Skin.

Albariño grapes have been written about in Spanish monastery records for 800 years. The name may translate as “White Rhine,” but frequent attempts to stitch together comparisons with Riesling have generally struck me as promotional twaddle ~ fanciful at best. Let’s not forget Semillon was called “Hunter Valley Riesling” in Australia for much of the 20th Century. Actually Albariño is carving out a niche all … Continue reading New World Albariño. Hope You’ve Got a Thick Skin.

Barberas Shine in El Dorado Competition

I judged wine at the El Dorado County Fair last month (May 2103), and was fortunate enough to be placed on the panel evaluating about 30 Barberas. These placements are never an absolute pleasure. If you get a couple great hours, you pay for it with at least an hour from the bottom of the entry barrel. For my sins our panel also got five … Continue reading Barberas Shine in El Dorado Competition