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J. Lohr Wildflower Valdiguie 2001
Alcohol: 12.1% by volume.
The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of the state's wine. The sprawling district covers most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara from the coast inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley. Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types, and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including Monterey, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, and Santa Cruz Mountains.
Just about every major international grape variety is planted within this vast AVA, from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. A significant proportion of the region’s produce is generic, inexpensive bulk wine, but the Central Coast is also home to many small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as everything in between.
Valdiguié is native to southwest France but also maintains a fairly substantial history in California. Given its high-yielding capacity, Valdiguié became very popular during the Prohibition. Until 1980 Californians called it Napa Gamay because of its similarities to Gamay as a finished wine. But in that year, a French ampelographer, Pierre Galet correctly identified it as Valdiguié and not Gamay. Today it still grows in pockets of respected appellations throughout the state. In France it is also goes by the name of Gros Auxerrois.
Fresh pomegranate, watermelon, blueberry and baking spice are common in Valdiguié. The wine is usually pretty simple but nonetheless totally enjoyable. It’s a great red to serve slightly chilled on a hot day.