Best free wine tasting - Asheville, North Carolina.

Friday Winedown - Exploring California's Central Coast

California’s Central Coast region stretches about 250 miles from San Francisco County in the north to Santa Barbara in the south. There are hundreds of wineries within this wide area, but a few are consistently recognized as the cream of the crop – we’ll be tasting wines from them!

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thrive in the cooler regions of the Central Coast while Zinfandel, Cabernet and Rhone varieties dominate in the warmer zones. We’ll try all of these and more as we take a virtual tour of one of my favorite winegrowing regions in California.
Join us on Friday, December 16 from 4 to 7 p.m. The lovely Anne Kaufmann of The Country Vintner will join us to pour these wines, and the cost for the tasting is $5 per person or it’s free if you’re a Grape Nut.

Here’s the lineup:

1. Tangent Sauvignon Blanc “Paragon Vineyard” – Located in Edna Valley, Tangent is owned and operated by the Niven family, who also own Baileyana. Their Sauvignon Blanc vineyards average 30 to 40 years of age, making them some of the oldest in the state. This is super clean and zesty, with lovely melon, passion fruit and pear aromas and flavors.

2. Talbott “Kali Hart” Chardonnay – Rob Talbott named this wine after his youngest child. It is 100% Sleepy Hollow fruit that sees 90% stainless steel fermentation and 10% barrel fermentation. It is one of the top selling Chardonnays in the store, and I think once you taste it, you’ll understand why.

3. Calera Vigonier – Calera’s Josh Jensen started his winery over 35 years ago and today, he is considered a California icon. His Viognier offers up lovely aromatics of honeysuckle, peach and apricot nectar, leading into an energetic palate of orchard fruits, citrus and mineral.

4. Calera Pinot Noir – Antonio Galloni of The Wine Advocate called this wine “the single finest value in American Pinot Noir”. I concur and am proud to share it with you.

5. Talbott Pinot Noir “Sleepy Hollow Vineyard” – Talbott makes a slightly “larger framed”, jammy style of Pinot Noir, relative to the Calera. This one shows nice concentration to the cherry and raspberry fruit, with complex herbs and spices on the finish.

6. Melville Syrah – The Melville family are considered one of the Central Coast’s top grape growing families and with Greg Brewer making their wines, they can do no wrong. This is a rich and hearty red wine with ripe berry fruit up front – behind this fruit are complex notes of olive, peppery spice and violet. Cooking lamb anytime soon? This would work wonderfully!

7. Cinnabar Mercury Rising Red Blend – This is a big mouthful of wine perfect for drinking with or without food. Most of Cinnabar’s vineyards are located in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and their Mercury Rising Blend is mainly Cabernet Sauvignon. With lots of body and a creamy texture, this wine really shines with ripe black cherry, plum, vanilla and spicy oak notes.

8. Ancient Peaks Zinfandel – Many of you have all ready tried this estate’s Cab and Renegade Red Blend – get ready for the wine that put them on the map. Made entirely with fruit from Ancient Peak’s Margarita Vineyard, this is ripe, jammy and loaded with cherry liqueur, blueberry, pie crust and vanilla notes.