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Central Coast Wine Day (#CCWineDay) – What’ll be in your glass?

Tomorrow (15 March 2012) I’m hosting a mini-tweetup for Central Coast Wine Day (hastag #CCWineDay). I hope you’ll all be going to one, or at least opening a bottle of Central Coast wine at home!

The Central Coast AVA is huge, containing 576 resident wineries. It was the second mega coastal appellation in California to be approved by the BATF. The massive AVA runs the 250 miles from San Francisco to Santa Barbara, including 30 sub-AVAs. Chardonnay is the most planted grape, but Rhone varietals are emerging as hot new thing (I personally think that’s fabulous).

Map ©2009 Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery

The region’s 100,000 acres of vineyard one thing in common: the West Coast marine effect (aka fog), which moderates warm temperatures during the growing season.

At the north end of the Central Coast, the San Francisco Bay AVA is heavily influenced by coastal fog and produces mostly Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Traveling south, Monterey County enjoys a long-growing season due to its cool, foggy climate, and is home to some of California’s most sought-after Chardonnays. Monterey County is one of the state’s larger AVAs, with nine sub-regions, including the renowned Santa Lucia Highlands appellation, home to highly-regarded Chardonnay as well as a lot of my favorite Pinot Noirs.

Diverse climate is a hallmark of the southernmost districts in the Central Coast AVA – San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties – where vineyards vary dramatically in their proximity to the ocean and their elevation. The warmer inland sub-regions of San Luis Obispo, like Paso Robles and Santa Ynez Valley, are famous for complex Syrah.

The most recognized grapes grown in the Central Coast AVA are:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Chardonnay (accounts for nearly half!)
  • Grenache
  • Merlot
  • Pinot Gris / Grigio
  • Pinot Noir
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Syrah / Shiraz
  • Viognier
  • Zinfandel

With so many choices, how can you fail to find a bottle or three you’ll want to drink?

Finally, the overlapping appellations are:

  • Arroyo Grande Valley (AVA)
  • Arroyo Seco (AVA)
  • California (State Appellation)
  • Carmel Valley (AVA)
  • Chalone (AVA)
  • Cienega Valley (AVA)
  • Contra Costa County (County Appellation)
  • Edna Valley (AVA)
  • Hames Valley (AVA)
  • Lime Kiln (AVA)
  • Livermore Valley (AVA)
  • Monterey (AVA)
  • Monterey County (County Appellation)
  • Mount Harlan (AVA)
  • Pacheco Pass (AVA)
  • Paicines (AVA)
  • Paso Robles (AVA)
  • San Antonio Valley (AVA)
  • San Benito (AVA)
  • San Bernabe (AVA)
  • San Francisco Bay (AVA)
  • San Lucas (AVA)
  • San Luis Obispo County (County Appellation)
  • San Ysidro District (AVA)
  • Santa Barbara County (County Appellation)
  • Santa Clara County (County Appellation)
  • Santa Clara Valley (AVA)
  • Santa Cruz County (County Appellation)
  • Santa Lucia Highlands (AVA)
  • Santa Maria Valley (AVA)
  • Santa Ynez Valley (AVA)
  • Sta. Rita Hills (AVA)
  • York Mountain (AVA)
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