"This blend of Zinfandel, Carignane and Petite Sirah tastes like one of those regional wines you discovered on vacation. You remember the sweet cherries, how dry it was, and how perfect with that chicken cacciatore. Shows up the promise of Lodi." -Wine Enthusiast
The 2002 REDS is huge, and in any other year, it would have qualified for !ZaZin. It's intensely purple-black, exploding with aromas of exotic spices, black fruits, minerality, cocoa bean, ultra-ripe berries, and is decadently luscious. Not exactly the Laurel Glen house style, but that's what the vintage produced, so that's what we made, and I've got to say that this confirmed cabernet drinker has indulged in a number of bottles over the past several months when well spiced foods appear on the table and has enjoyed every one to the last drop!
Like the recently released 2001 Counterpoint, the 2002 REDS has an overlay of suavity and opulence that complements its deep, dark, almost rustic core. This is not accidental. We have made tremendous efforts to refine our projects on Sonoma Mountain, Mendoza, and Lodi. All REDS vineyards are under our control: we carefully monitor irrigation, crop levels, and harvest conditions. In the winery, we ferment in small batches, which preserves the integrity of the vineyards, and age the wines in 60 gallon oak barrels. Quantities produced are significantly lower than in previous years in keeping with our increasing commitment to quality.
Laurel Glen Winery
Laurel Glen Vineyard, a thousand feet up the slopes of Sonoma Mountain, has long been considered one of the iconic Cabernet vineyards of California. Originally planted in the 1880’s, the present-day vineyard was developed in the 1970’s by Sonoma wine pioneer Patrick Campbell. The 1st vintage of Laurel Glen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was made in 1981. The vineyard’s combination of high altitude, eastern exposure, rocky soils, and small diurnal temperature swings combine to produce very distinctive wines. Despite its small production, the wine has received international acclaim for its exceptional balance, elegance and ability to age gracefully.
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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.