Luscious, deep scents of lemon grass, grapefruit and passion fruit jump from the glass to proudly proclaim this wine's varietal. A generous, fruit-forward palate shows juicy citrus flavors of lime and tangerine, balanced by bright, crisp acidity. The pleasant finish persists on the palate with great length of flavor. This is an easy-sipping, eminently drinkable wine that doesn't sacrifice complexity or varietal character in its quest to be flat-out enjoyable. The perfect aperitif, this wine also makes an ideal partner to oysters and nearly any shellfish, as well as salads and light fish and chicken dishes.
Geyser Peak Winery
One of California's oldest and most award-winning wineries, Geyser Peak was founded in 1880, a pioneer of the Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. Perched on a hillside across from Geyser Peak Mountain, this beautiful setting overlooks Geyserville, the Russian River and the northern end of Alexander Valley.
The winery consistently garners some of the most prestigious awards in winemaking, including Winery of the Year and Winemaker of the Year honors. Its outstanding team of winemakers and viticulturalists are noted for fruit-forward, food-friendly wines from prime vineyard sources in the Alexander Valley.
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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.