Flashcards in C33 - California Deck (162):
How long is the state of California?
Approx. 1100 kilometres from north to south
What is the role of latitude in determining the climate of California vineyards?
What is the biggest cooling influence in California?
The exceptionally cold California Ocean Current
Where are most of the vineyards of California located?
North of Los Angeles
Describe the coastline of California
More mountainous north of LA
What is the climatic role of the mountains in California?
They shield much of the state from the cooling effect of the ocean
What is common evening weather for California?
Cold air, often accompanied by fogs is drawn in from the ocean, lowering night-time temperatures
How and when do Californian fogs dissipate? How does this affect the vineyard climate?
The time it takes for the sun to burn off the fog in the morning, means that the cooling influence extends well into the day
Describe the cooling effect of Californian fogs
Some years, the effect can be so dramatic that grapes can struggle to ripen fully
Where in California does the cooling fog penetrate further inland?
Where there are gaps in the mountains
Give examples of areas of California that act as funnels for the cold coastal air. Why do they have this effect?
Monterey and Santa Barbara Counties
They are valleys at right angles to the ocean
What is the climate like in areas of California that have no exposure to the ocean? Give an example
What is the second climatic feature that links all of California's wine regions?
A lack of rain during the ripening season
How is the lack of rain in California's ripening season counteracted by grape growers?
Using drip irrigation
What has been the effect of the lack of rain during autumn in California?
It has allowed growers to leave grapes on the vine for long into the season
What has been the result on grapes of the longer ripening season in California?
They have concentrated flavours and very high sugar levels
What has been the recent trend in Californian winemaking?
There has recently been a greater appreciation for freshness and many growers are picking slightly earlier
What is the most widely planted black grape in California?
Give an overview of Cabernets from prime sites in California
They can produce extremely expressive wines that rival the quality of the best produced anywhere
What is the profile of California's best Cabernets?
Ripe cassis flavours
Prominent spice aromas from new oak barrels
Some are less rich, with fresher blackcurrant flavours
What is regarded as California's 'own' grape variety?
What style is Zinfandel made into in California?
It's made into a range of styles
What is the biggest viticultural difficulty with Zinfandel?
It tends to ripen unevenly, with the result that harvested fruit can include raisined and underripe grapes
What can be the result on wine of raisined Zinfandel?
Concentrated, full-bodied red wines with high alcohol levels and sometimes some residual sugar
Flavours include red and black fruits, dried berries and liquorice
Some display subtle herbaceous qualities from underripe grapes
How are underripe/early-picked Zinfandel grapes often used in California?
For large volumes of rosé wine
How are Zinfandel-based rosés of California commonly labelled?
Describe White Zinfandel
Pale in colour
Low in alcohol
What is the third most widely planted grape of California?
Give an overview of Merlot-based wines in California
Approachable wines with soft tannins and ripe black fruit
Which area of California has the largest plantings of Merlot?
San Joaquin in Central Valley
What are the Merlot wines of San Joaquin, Central Valley like?
Simple and inexpensive
Give examples of areas that produce better qualities of Merlot in California
What do they have in common?
Monterey and the north coast regions, especially Napa and Sonoma
They are cooler sites
Describe the better quality Merlots of California
Soft, velvety tannins
Classic varietal flavours of blackberry and plum
Where in California do its premium Pinot Noirs typically come from?
Moderate regions such as Russian River Valley, Los Carneros and Santa Maria Valley
What is the style of Pinot Noir in California?
Styles vary widely according to vineyard site and winemaking practices
Describe the style range for Pinot Noir in California
Some are light in colour, with classic gamey and vegetal notes
Most show rich layers of ripe red fruit flavours (red cherry, strawberry) and notes of sweet spice from oak maturation
What is the fifth black grape of California?
Where in California is Syrah planted?
Across the state
What broad style is Syrah generally made into in California?
A full-bodied, rich style
What other style do some producers make Syrah into in California?
Leaner, more peppery styles
What is the most widely planted grape variety in California?
Describe the inexpensive, high volume examples of Chardonnay in California
Where are they mostly made?
Low to medium acidity
Sometimes a toasty note from oak staves or chips
What's the formative reputation of high quality Californian Chardonnay?
Peach and banana fruit flavours
Obvious flavours of oak, hazelnut and butter
Where are the more restrained, less oaky styles of Chardonnay being produced in California?
Russian River Valley
What is California's 'second' white variety?
Where does the best Sauvignon Blanc in California come from?
The coastal regions
Give an overview of the best Sauvignon Blancs in California
High acidity and ripe citrus flavours
Where are the more affordable fruity, everyday Sauvignon Blancs of California from?
Warmer regions such as Central Valley
What does Fumé Blanc sometimes indicate when used in California?
An oaked style of Sauvignon Blanc, but some producers use this term for unoaked wines
Where in California is the majority of wine produced?
Briefly describe viticulture in Central Valley, California
Soil is very fertile and irrigation is used to increase yield
Where are California's premium wine regions located?
Primarily along the coast
What is the primary focus of quality wine producers along California's coast?
Managing quality in the vineyard
Producing wines reflective of each area
How many regions are the principal vineyards of California grouped into?
Which three of California's five wine-making regions contain the majority of the state's well known County Appellations and AVAs?
What are the principal winemaking counties of North Coast region in California?
Where is California's North Coast region?
North of San Francisco Bay
Describe the climate of the vineyards in North Coast region
Strongly influenced by the ocean
Fog and cool breezes flow through the gaps in the coastal ranges and river valleys
What effect do the fogs and cool breezes of North Coast have on climate?
They affect average and diurnal temperature ranges that affect grape-plantings
How long is the Napa Valley AVA?
About 50km north to south
How wide is Napa Valley AVA?
Only about 5km
Which AVA has the most expensive land and some of the most prestigious wineries of California?
Napa Valley AVA
What marks the boundary of Napa Valley AVA with Sonoma County?
The Mayacamas Mountains to the west
What do the Vaca mountains separate Napa Valley AVA from?
The northern part of the Central Valley
Where within Napa Valley AVA are the vineyards found?
On the valley floor and each valley side
What creates the diverse range of styles available in Napa Valley AVA?
The variety of cooling influences which creates a diverse range of climates
What are the most significant cooling influences of Napa Valley AVA?
The morning fogs and cool afternoon breezes from San Pablo Bay
What essentially is San Pablo Bay?
The northern extension of San Francisco Bay
Which area of Napa Valley AVA do the San Pablo Bay fogs and breezes moderate?
The southern part
What is the most southerly vineyard area on the valley floor of Napa Valley AVA?
Los Carneros AVA
What area does Los Carneros AVA cover?
It extends into Sonoma County
What grapes are notably produced to a high quality level in Sonoma County? Why is this possible?
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
It is cool enough to produce them to a high quality
What styles of wine are made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Los Carneros AVA?
Still and traditional method sparkling
What is the climate like slightly further north along the valley floor from Los Carneros AVA?
What are the principal AVAs just north of Los Carneros AVA along the valley floor?
Stags Leap District
What are Stags Leap District, Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford primarily renowned for?
Of the areas most renowned for Cabernet within Napa Valley AVA, which has the least exposure to the cooling influences of San Pablo Bay? What is the result?
It's the warmest during the day
Which of the AVAs just north of Los Carneros AVA produces wines with the most power and structure? Why?
It's the least exposed to the cooling influences of San Pablo Bay and so is warmest during the day
Which other varieties are widely planted in Napa's premium Cabernet AVAs?
Describe the flavours produced by whites of Stags Leap District, Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford
They all typically show white tropical fruit
What are the AVAs in the north of Napa Valley which receive the warmest daytime temperatures?
Saint Helena AVA and Calistoga AVA
What is the result of northern Napa's warm temperatures on its wines?
They can be some of the most concentrated, full-bodied wines in the valley
How is the warmth of Napa's most northerly AVAs moderated? What is the effect on grapes?
Cool air through the Chalk Hill gap in the Mayacamas Mountains can provide some relief from afternoon temperatures
Much cooler night-time temperatures too
Helps to retain grape-acidity
What is the main grape produced in Saint Helena and Calistoga?
Which additional grapes are also grown in Saint Helena and Calistoga?
Zinfandel and Syrah
Which vineyards are unaffected by fog in Napa Valley? Why?
Many of those on the valley sides
They lie above the fog layer
How are the vineyards of the valley sides in Napa Valley cooled, if not by the fog?
By their altitude
Other than altitude, what else has an important effect on vineyard climate in the vineyards of the valley sides in Napa Valley?
Which AVAs of Napa County have west-facing vineyards? What is the result?
Those of Howell Mountain AVA and Atlas Peak AVA
They get full exposure to the hot afternoon sun and tend to be warmer than those facing east
Which AVAs of Napa County have east-facing vineyards? What is the result?
Diamond Mountain District AVA
Spring Mountain District AVA
Mount Veeder AVA
Less/no exposure to the hot afternoon sun
Cooler than those on west-facing sites
What is the result on wines of the warmer afternoon exposure received in vineyards of Howell Mountain AVA and Atlas Peak AVA?
They tend to be fuller-bodied and with higher alcohol levels
What is the general structural difference in the red wines of the valley sides in Napa Valley?
They tend to have higher levels of tannins and less richness on the palate than those on the valley floor
What is the principal variety of wines made from vineyards of the valley sides in Napa Valley?
Which other grapes are generally grown on the vineyards of the valley-side AVAs in Napa Valley?
What is the main white variety grown on the vineyards of the valley-sides in Napa Valley?
What are the valley-side Chardonnays like compared with those of the valley floor in Napa Valley?
They tend to have higher levels of acidity and display citrus and stone fruit aromas
Which is the larger of Sonoma and Napa County?
Which of Sonoma and Napa has the greater variety of climates?
Where is Russian River Valley AVA?
Sonoma County, to the west of Napa County
What are the weather conditions like in Russian River Valley AVA? Why?
Very cool and foggy
Due to a break in the coastal ranges, known as the Petaluma gap
What wines is Russian River Valley AVA known for?
High quality, elegant wines made from:
Sparkling wines from the above varieties
What are the main AVAs to the north of Russian River Valley AVA?
Dry Creek Valley AVA
Alexander Valley AVA
What is the climate like in Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley AVA?
Perceptibly warmer than Russian River Valley AVA
Describe how Dry Creek Valley AVA is planted
Planted densely on both the valley floor and sides
What varieties are planted chiefly in Dry Creek Valley AVA and where in the valley are they planted?
High quality, old-vine Zinfandel is planted above the fog layer on the hillsides
Valley floor vineyards are better suited to Sauvignon Blanc
What other varieties are popular in Dry Creek Valley AVA?
Rhône varieties and Cabernet Sauvignon are also popular
Which AVA of Sonoma County is warmer still, than Dry Creek Valley AVA?
Alexander Valley AVA
How do the wines of Alexander Valley AVA compare with those of the other Sonoma AVAs?
They tend to be fleshier and fuller-bodied
What style of wine has Alexander Valley AVA built a particular reputation for?
Soft-textured, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon
Which varieties other than Cabernet does Alexander Valley AVA successfully make?
A range of international varieties
Which AVA lies to the west of Alexander and Dry Creek Valley?
Sonoma Coast AVA
What is the climate of Sonoma Coast AVA?
Greatly influenced by the cooling effect of the cold Pacific Ocean
How is ripening maximised in Sonoma Coast AVA?
By planting on south-facing slopes
Describe and name the AVA to the south of Sonoma Coast AVA
Sonoma Valley AVA runs parallel to Napa Valley
What is the weather like in Sonoma Valley AVA?
It is heavily influenced by breezes and fogs from San Pablo Bay (like southern parts of Napa)
What is Sonoma Valley AVA best known for?
High quality Chardonnays
Old vine Zinfandels
Generally describe Mendocino County
Very large and diverse
Which county lies to the north of Sonoma County?
Name a notable AVA of Mendocino County
What does it produce?
Anderson Valley AVA
Aromatic whites made from varieties such as Riesling and Gewurztraminer
What is the weather like in Anderson Valley AVA?
Describe conditions in Mendocino AVA
Much warmer and drier than Anderson Valley AVA
How does Mendocino AVA achieve such relatively warm, dry conditions?
It's protected behind coastal hills that rise up to 900 metres
Describe wines from Mendocino AVA
Full-bodied with soft tannins
Often made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Syrah
List major wine-producing counties of the Central Coast area in California
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey
San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties
Describe the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA and its location
A diverse region in the north of the Central Coast that includes hillside locations with infertile soils
Describe the wines of Santa Cruz Mountains AVA
Some of California's most elegant Cabernet Sauvignons
Some high quality Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs
How can the conditions of Santa Cruz Mountains AVA best be described?
Where is Monterey AVA?
It follows the path of the Salinas Valley in Central Coast
What is the biggest moderating influence in Monterey AVA?
The Pacific Ocean
Which varieties are planted closest to the coast of Monterey AVA? Why?
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
So that they receive maximum influence from the daily strong, cool winds from the ocean
What are conditions like further along the valley in Monterey from the cool coastal area?
What is grown in these areas?
Cool winds are less evident
Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah
Describe plantings in Salinas Valley, Monterey
There are a number of AVAs on the slopes surrounding the valley
Which is the most notable of the slope-AVAs along the Salinas Valley in Monterey County?
Santa Lucia Highlands AVA
What is Santa Lucia Highlands AVA most noted for producing?
High-quality Chardonnay with citrus and tropical fruit flavours and balanced acidity
Where are San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties located?
In the southern part of the Central Coast
Describe the terrain of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties and the resulting effect
The mountains are east-west rather than north-south
It encourages the flow of cool ocean breezes onto the mainland
What is the major AVA of San Luis Obispo County?
Paso Robles AVA
Of which varieties does Paso Robles AVA have major plantings?
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah
How many distinct zones does Paso Robles have?
Describe the eastern zone of Paso Robles
Hot, sunny weather and deep, fertile soils
Supple, fruity wines for high volume brands
Describe the western zone of Paso Robles
Cooled by marine air
Reputation for high quality Zinfandel and Rhône varieties
Which AVA lies to the south of Paso Robles AVA?
Santa Maria Valley AVA
Where is Santa Maria Valley AVA
Santa Barbara County, Central Coast
Describe Santa Maria Valley AVA
Significantly cooler than Paso Robles AVA
Well-suited to growing premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes
What is the impact of fog in Santa Maria Valley AVA?
In low-lying areas, fog can cover the ground during the day, encouraging a slow-ripening process
What is the result of the slow-ripening in Santa Maria Valley AVA?
It can yield wines with concentrated fruit flavours balanced by high acidity
Where of Santa Barbara County is slightly warmer?
Santa Ynez Valley AVA
What are the wines of Santa Ynez Valley AVA like?
Red wines from Syrah and Bordeaux varieties
Which AVA is in the far west of Santa Ynez?
Sta. Rita Hills AVA
Describe conditions in Sta. Rita Hills AVA
Much cooler than Santa Ynez Valley AVA
Why is Sta. Rita Hills AVA so much cooler?
It's strongly influenced by the ocean
What does Sta. Rita Hills AVA specialise in?
What other varieties does Sta. Rita Hills AVA produce?
Chardonnay and a number of aromatic varieties
Which areas is Central Valley comprised of?
Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys
Which area produces the vast majority of Californian wine?
Describe the climate of Central Valley
Mostly hot and dry
What is the reaction in the vineyards of Central Valley to the conditions?
Irrigation is widely practiced
What was new that came out of the conditions in Central Valley?
New varieties; Rubired and Ruby Cabernet
Which traditional varieties are widely planted in Central Valley?
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay
Colombard, Chenin Blanc and Barbera
Which AVA straddles the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys in the middle of Central Valley?
What is unique about the conditions in Lodi AVA?
Despite being in Central Valley, it is still kept relatively cool, as it is east of the huge Sacramento Delta and thus benefits daily from cooling breezes from San Francisco Bay