This wine bears testimony to importance of both vintage and site for pinot noir. Few will remember the 1995 Brosseau, with its deep spicy palate and firm structure, but suffice to say it had little in common with the elegant, fruit driven 1998 bottling. The 1999 is distinctive as well in ways that speak volumes about the synergy of soils and climate. The vintage began with a mild summer, but finished with a wave of heat that drove sugars up quickly, especially where the vines grow in lean, rocky soils as they do here at the base of the Pinnacles at Chalone. The result is a massive wine with very ripe flavors and a velvety palate that belie the underlying structure. Fifteen months in French oak added smoke notes, resulting in a unique and complex pinot noir. 98 cases produced
David Bruce Winery
Nestled amid the redwoods high in the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco is the David Bruce Winery. Success based on passion and devotion to wine for 37 years. Always pursue bold flavors and rich styles in selected small lots. Offers Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Petite Syrah and Pinot Noir.
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The largest of California's wine growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of California's wine. The district sprawls out, covering most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. Smaller sub-AVAs of the Central Coast include Monterey Bay, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and many others.
Grape varieties range from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Some Central Coast wine is generic, bulk wine that contributes to the high production numbers of the area. But many winemakers and wineries, particular in some of the smaller AVAs, are small production artisans, creating unique and high-quality wine. The great thing about the Central Coast is its diversity - you're able to find a number of grape varieties and styles at a number of different price points.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.