Deep garnet in color with a crimson hue. Hints of dark berries, red plum, cocoa bean, nutmeg and vanilla fill the nose. Ripe boysenberry and black cherry are accented by notes of dark chocolate and cinnamon. Soft hints of creamy vanilla accompany the lingering finish.
The 2006 Estancia Zinfandel from Keyes Canyon Vineyard in Paso Robles is a juicy, lively, medium-bodied red wine. Perfect for sipping in the company of good friends and good food or for cellaring over the next five years.
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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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.