Aroma: Bright black cherries with soft notes of licorice, rosemary and sage, accented by subtle touches of mocha and soft oak
Flavor: Rich and bold with intense flavors of chocolate dipped black fruit, accompanied by notes of sweet oak. Wonderfully structured ripe tannins lead to a nice long, fruit driven finish.
Estancia, based in Monterey, was founded in 1986. The name Estancia is roughly translated from the Spanish word for "estate," and emphasizes our conviction that the world's best wines capture the essence of their place of origin. At Estancia we control the process from the start—from the trials in our experimental vineyard blocks, to planting, harvesting, fermenting and aging the wines. We've built a winery that allows us to devote the same attention to detail in winemaking that we give to our grapes. We use open-top fermenters and small basket presses for our Pinot Noir and new red-wine fermentation tanks that are fit for the diverse blocks in our Paso Robles vineyards. It is this hands-on crafting of the wines, from grapes to bottle, that result in our superior wine quality.
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California has nearly 100 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) and accounts for almost 90% of wine production in the United States. In our section of Other California, we include wines from smaller AVAs as well as wines from the California AVA. Here are a few smaller AVAs you may see on the label:
Livermore Valley AVA
, located right outside of San Francisco and home to wineries such as Wente.
Lodi County AVA
, an AVA further east of San Francisco and known for its excellent, old-vine Zinfandels.
San Francisco Bay AVA
, a sprawling AVA that covers Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, to name a few.
Wine that holds only the California AVA is typically a wine that includes grapes from a number of different AVAs, which leads to the general labeling of the wine as California. This does not denote the quality of the wine, only the diversity of where the grapes originate.
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.