Edmunds St. John Rocks and Gravel 2002
Rhone Red Blends from Central Coast, California
Since the 1997 vintage, Rocks and Gravel has been our most popular wine. Inspired by the Southern Cotes du Rhone blends of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah, it has deomnstrated, year in and year out, that California is a great place to produce red wines with a Provencal spirit. The 2000 and 2001 vintages were especially fine ones for Rocks and Gravel, and we were able to put together wines that were virtually indistinguishable from fine Gigondas.
In 2002 we weren't happy with any of our Grenache options, so the 2002 Rocks and Gravel is an unusual blend of, roughly 65% Mourvèdre, 25% Counoise, and 10% Syrah. Oddly, the results seem to evoke both the Cotes du Rhone, and points rather far North, way up in the Cote de Beaune. Go figure.
Bright crimson, a bit of blue at the edge. spicy, pulse-quickening aromas of graphite, tree-bark, blood, and mulberries, with deeper layers of smoke and underbrush. Very supple and textured on the palate, with some fat, and a great sense of structure and balance. Long flavors leading to a clean finish, and crying out for a second taste.
Edmunds St. John Winery
In ten short years, Steve Edmunds has carved out an enviable reputation as one of the true pioneers of the California "Rhône Ranger" movement. Located in Berkeley, California, Edmunds St. John specializes in Rhône style wines such as Syrahs, Mourvèdres and the blended Les Côtes Sauvage.
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About Central Coast
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.
Notable Facts 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.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
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.