The land of sunshine and gold runners. And now it’s the turn of wine to be the new gold runner. Napa and Sonoma’s roots started in and around the 1850’s, with the new wave landing from the early 1900’s with the likes of Mondavi. A land rich and diverse, Napa has led the way in quality wine production in California. From the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s the next generation of winemakers landed in South California and set about constructing the new vineyards and varietals. Today, we see more new craft wineries springing up than ever before, vineyard sites begin to establish themselves qualitatively, on an international level, new varietals, new regions…. and the results down stream; more wines than ever, being sold around the globe, to find in some of the finest establishments on the planet., favourites of leading sommeliers. The future of winemaking in California, is very bright indeed. We’ve only scratched the surface, the future, feels somewhat limitless.
Home to more than 200 wineries and some 40 000 vineyard acres, sitting at around 200 metres above sea level, set inland from the coast, two hours north of Santa Barbara on California’s Central Coast. The short drive inland means temperatures here are not what you can experience in Santa Barbara County. With the greatest day-to-night temperature swing in California (4 degrees at night to 100 in the day), Paso can be hostile for growing grapes. Vineyards start at around 200 metres above sea level, rising to 600 in the West. There are a vast number of micro climates in Paso, providing diversity and opportunity. Templeton Gap and Willow Creek in particular are emerging as some of the finest. Rhone blends form the majority of wines made in Pas, although slowly, thanks to a new wave of pioneers, fresher styles are creeping in. Paso is on the verge of an exciting new chapter, lower alcohols, more European varietals and profiles. At the richer end, clever site selection, viticulture and vinification means that even at higher alcohol, good integration can make for stunning wines.
See our producers Kinero & RNSF
sanata barbara county
With their hills facing West to East (v. North to South), the pacific winds flow through the valleys, cooling the vines. With unique micro climates and marine based soils, there is seemingly limitless potential to not only make fresh, vibrant wines but also set new heights on California’s ability to craft some of the finest wines, of site, in the world today. All that wind & extra sunshine means the vines suffer duress, and in the right hands, when picked at the optimal moment, instead of fruit jam punch, you get layers of complexity, subtle aromas and intoxicating perfumes. From the more acid driven varietals like Riesling, to the delicate yet indulgent Pinot’s and Chardonnay’s, to Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Rousanne, Chenin, Sauvignon and beyond.
Home of the famed Houses of Opus One, Mondavi, Screaming Eagle and countless others. Responsible for putting California wines squarely on the world wine map. With a climate and terroir similar to Bordeaux, with such a varied scope on what to plant. Land prices are high, and recently the prices of these top wines have gone into orbit. Now however, the next generation are finding a way into this prestigious valley and the results, so far, have been encouraging. Varietals such as Charbono (Bonarda), Schippettino (Ribolla Nera), Rifosco, Semillon and others. Young protogees of top producers are coming through with their own projects, and the results, are intriguing.
See our producers Arbe Garbe
russian river valley
The Russian River is one of the most picturesque, tranquil places to travel through. Set in Sonoma, an official AVA since just 1983. Cool climate, yet hotter than it seems in the day time, the pacific ocean having a major impact, with fog patches nestling into some vineyards, cooling the berries and prolonging hang time. Temperatures drop drastically at night. Some of the finest wines in California are made here, Pinot Noir’s from the likes of William Selyem, located just outside of Healdsburg, are famous the world over, and rare. Goldridge soil is their famous asset, a result of the tectonic plates sprouting volcanic soil in the region. Nestled amongst these vineytards are some rare and unique gems such as Catie’s Corneer, a fully biodynamic planting of Malvasia Bianca.
See our producers Arbe Garbe