Reminiscent of a Cru Beaujolais, this wine bursts with aromas of bright cherry, candy apple and rose petal. The palate displays a similar array of clean cranberry and strawberry fruit, and the finish is juicy and fresh.
The first vineyard planted in the Edna Valley appellation in 1973, Chamisal nestles five miles inland against the Santa Lucia Mountains, half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles, on the rugged California Coast. Part of an original Spanish land grant, this historic 80-acre property- formerly operating under the name of Domaine Alfred- is planted mostly to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with a few acres of Syrah, Grenache, and Pinot Gris. The vines thrive in the dry rocky terrain, as does the fragrant Chamise, a native white-flowered shrub that inspired the name of the property.
The Edna Valley appellation, with its unique geography, possesses a near perfect combination of soil type and climate for wine grapes. With the cooling Pacific Ocean nearby, the long temperate growing season extends the amount of time a grape stays on the vine to develop its flavors. This hang time paired with the calcerous, clay-rich soil on the property produce fruit with exceptional intensity and complex flavors, often showing a distinctive character that some fondly call "Chamisal Spice."
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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 & Fruity
Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.