Pinot Grigio is a traditional Italian grape variety that thrives in the moderate climate of the Arroyo Seco region of Monterey. Tamas Estates Pinot Grigio is becoming more and more popular, and for good reasons… It is crisp and refreshing, with full flavors of tangerine and pear. Also, Pinot Grigio is a wonderful alternative to Chardonnay, especially as an apertif or to cool the palate when dining on spicy foods. Try it with crispy appetizers, tangy barbecue sauces and Thai food.
In 1984, Iván Tamás Fuezy and Steve Mirassou left their respective companies to start Iván Tamás Winery. Having worked in the wine business for decades in a time when the industry was far more fraternal than it is now, Ivan and Steve's paths crossed often. In fact, Ivan worked with Steve at Mirassou Vineyards for a time. Thus, the partnership began with a high level of familiarity. After several years as negociants, the two partners found a home in the Livermore Valley. Today Iván Tamás is a bonded winery producing about 60,000 cases per year of eight varietals, including the "house" Chardonnay and Cabernet for the Ritz-Carlton Hotels around the world.
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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 & 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.