09/26/06 – North Central Coast (pt. 2)

By Jesse on September 25, 2006


Remember last May or something when I told y’all about how I managed to burn my eyelids when I was laying out on my roof?  Those were the days, man…. nowadays I can’t burn anything up there anymore.  Where did the sun go?  I laid out for a good three hours this weekend and I still look as white as the driven snow.  I’m gonna have to start going back to that sketchy tanning place and then you all are gonna make fun of me and question my sexuality.  Again.  Ok, regardless, my point is that it seems like autumn has finally arrived, and we should start planning our next trip so we can see the harvest!  At this week’s meeting, lets discuss destinations (i.e. back to Santa Barbara, appellations we didn’t visit?…. Paso Robles?…. Napa?….) and potential times.

Tomorrow night we return to the region referred to in the Wine Bible as the North Central Coast, which itself features several smaller appellations.  The three most prominent seem to be Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Clara Valley, and Monterey County .  Monterey is the biggest and is a huge agricultural area: besides growing grapes, more than 50 percent of the United States’ broccoli, strawberries, mushrooms, artichokes, spinach and lettuce are grown here.  The three smaller appellations, which are very prestigious and also very small indeed, are Chalone, Mount Harlan and the Carmel Valley.  Finding a wine from one of the latter three might be a challenge, but might also be worth it in terms of quality (we had one last week which was very good).  However, you should definitely have an easy time finding excellent wines from Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and Monterey in your local wine shop.

Last week we did reds, so now we’re on to the whites.  The appellations of the “Northern Central Coast” vary significantly in microclimates, even within the specific regions themselves.  Some are 2,000 feet above sea level, facing the cool winds of the Pacific, and some are deep inside sun-baked valleys.  The following is from an interesting article about the Central Coast: ” the region’s vineyards have greatly benefited from new trellising and irrigation systems which improve ripening. As the mantra throughout California today appears to be ‘long hangtime,’ its predominantly cool climate vineyards are ideally suited for full flavor development and varietal expression as the growing season starts early but is often extended late into October.  When buying your wine, look especially for Chardonnay and Riesling, but any white from the regions listed above would be great.

For the first time in several months, we will be returning to the Young Winos’ original location, our palatial homestead in the fertile tracts “north of the bull” in Sherman Oaks. Bring a special bottle of that Northern Central Coast white (or, as discussed in last week’s e-mail, a friendly $10 “no wine” donation for Jason’s coffer), and we’ll see you on Tuesday night at 9 PM.