The Santa Lucia Highlands appellation is Monterey County’s most celebrated location for wine, and its reputation was built on rich, dramatic pinot noir. Pinots from producers like Pisoni, Roar, Siduri and Testarossa are highly sought after.
The drought has led to all sorts of agricultural challenges, but it doesn’t appear to have hurt the quality of California’s wines. The warm, dry growing conditions have led to a string of high-quality vintages.
It’s an unexpected location, tucked behind a service road off Highway 101 at the southern edge of Paso Robles. But this unassuming industrial park, still sprinkled with body shops, air conditioning distributors and pool supply companies, is poised to become the area’s hippest new tasting destination. Tin City, as it was dubbed by the producers there, is already home to the popular BarrelHouse Brewing Co., more than a dozen small wine producers and a distillery making brandy, whiskey and other spirits.
When you think of the wines of central Tuscany, Chianti Classico and brunello di Montalcino — both based on the sangiovese grape — probably spring to mind. It’s likely you overlook another sangiovese-based wine, which comes from the picturesque hill town of Montepulciano: vino nobile di Montepulciano.
Sparkling wine is perfect for any romantic occasion. (Actually, it’s appropriate for any occasion — like, it’s Tuesday night! — but I digress.) For the day that’s all about romance, Valentine’s Day, I like a bubbly with a hue that evokes roses and candy hearts: rosé sparkling wine.
Wine from Chamisal Vineyards of Edna Valley will be sold at San Luis Obispo’s Concerts in the Plaza series this summer. Beer from Firestone Walker Brewing Company will continue to be sold at the concerts.
Women winemakers are common in the industry these days, but as recently as the 1970s, they were almost non-existent. That was the situation facing Merry Edwards when she started looking for a winemaking job in 1973.
Winter is the time for hearty food and full-bodied red wines. I really enjoy syrah or pinot noir, not to mention the more esoteric stuff — carignan from Languedoc, anyone? But I also drink my share of cabernet sauvignon. Despite the protestations of the ABC (anything but cabernet) crowd, cab remains the top-selling red varietal wine in this country.
As 2015 draws to a close, I’m pouring a glass of wine and musing on the past year and what 2016 may bring. I’ve often written about trends or New Year’s resolutions, but I’m feeling a little more reflective this year.