The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2017

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96  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2017 96  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2017 CENTRAL COAST S an Luis Obispo County cov- ers an expansive terrain that boasts a spectrum of climatic extremes. While sunny Paso Robles in the north is well-recog- nized for its Bordeaux- and Rhône- style wines, the lesser-known regions south of San Luis Obispo—referred to as SLO Wine Country—encompass some of the coldest microclimates for winegrowing in California. The vineyards of SLO Wine Country stretch along a thin area of coastline, from Cambria in the north to Arroyo Grande in the south. "Our vineyards are just five miles on average from the Pacific Ocean," says Mike Sinor, owner and winemaker of Sinor-LaVallee Wine Company. "So the prevailing marine conditions are very pronounced, giv- ing the fruit a lot of time to develop rich, full flavors while maintaining structure, complexity and balance." This stretch of land that includes the Arroyo Grande Valley and Edna Valley AVAs consists of only 5,000 planted acres, with roughly 35 wineries. Since much of SLO Wine Country is classified as Region I, a designation for the world's coolest winegrowing areas, cool-climate varieties shine. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir tend to receive the most attention, but many of the aromatic whites I tasted, such as Albariño and Riesling, were also standouts. Planted in 2005 by Louisa and Bob Lindquist, the certified biody- namic Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard is planted primarily with Spanish and Rhône varieties. The couple sold the ranch to Brook Williams, who embraced their biodynamic farming tradition. She works with multiple producers throughout the region rather than making her own wines. "I enjoy seeing the many expressions of wine from the many different winemakers sourcing fruit from here," says Williams. On a clear day, the ocean can be seen peeking through the corridor across from Bassi Ranch Vineyard. SLO Wine Country GETTING TO KNOW THE MARINE EDGE OF CALIFORNIA'S CENTRAL COAST by Michelle Ball / photos by Jeremy Ball

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