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Flashcards in C33 - California Deck (162):
1

How long is the state of California?

Approx. 1100 kilometres from north to south

2

What is the role of latitude in determining the climate of California vineyards?

Relatively small

3

What is the biggest cooling influence in California?

The exceptionally cold California Ocean Current

4

Where are most of the vineyards of California located?

North of Los Angeles

5

Describe the coastline of California

More mountainous north of LA

6

What is the climatic role of the mountains in California?

They shield much of the state from the cooling effect of the ocean

7

What is common evening weather for California?

Cold air, often accompanied by fogs is drawn in from the ocean, lowering night-time temperatures

8

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

9

Describe the cooling effect of Californian fogs

Some years, the effect can be so dramatic that grapes can struggle to ripen fully

10

Where in California does the cooling fog penetrate further inland?

Where there are gaps in the mountains

11

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

12

What is the climate like in areas of California that have no exposure to the ocean? Give an example

Hot
Central Valley

13

What is the second climatic feature that links all of California's wine regions?

A lack of rain during the ripening season

14

How is the lack of rain in California's ripening season counteracted by grape growers?

Using drip irrigation

15

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

16

What has been the result on grapes of the longer ripening season in California?

They have concentrated flavours and very high sugar levels

17

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

18

What is the most widely planted black grape in California?

Cabernet Sauvignon

19

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

20

What is the profile of California's best Cabernets?

Full-bodied
Ripe cassis flavours
Prominent spice aromas from new oak barrels
Some are less rich, with fresher blackcurrant flavours

21

What is regarded as California's 'own' grape variety?

Zinfandel

22

What style is Zinfandel made into in California?

It's made into a range of styles

23

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

24

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

25

How are underripe/early-picked Zinfandel grapes often used in California?

For large volumes of rosé wine

26

How are Zinfandel-based rosés of California commonly labelled?

White Zinfandel

27

Describe White Zinfandel

Fruity
Pale in colour
Medium-sweet
Low in alcohol

28

What is the third most widely planted grape of California?

Merlot

29

Give an overview of Merlot-based wines in California

Approachable wines with soft tannins and ripe black fruit

30

Which area of California has the largest plantings of Merlot?

San Joaquin in Central Valley

31

What are the Merlot wines of San Joaquin, Central Valley like?

Simple and inexpensive

32

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

33

Describe the better quality Merlots of California

Luscious body
Deeply coloured
Soft, velvety tannins
High alcohol
Classic varietal flavours of blackberry and plum

34

Where in California do its premium Pinot Noirs typically come from?

Moderate regions such as Russian River Valley, Los Carneros and Santa Maria Valley

35

What is the style of Pinot Noir in California?

Styles vary widely according to vineyard site and winemaking practices

36

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

37

What is the fifth black grape of California?

Syrah

38

Where in California is Syrah planted?

Across the state

39

What broad style is Syrah generally made into in California?

A full-bodied, rich style

40

What other style do some producers make Syrah into in California?

Leaner, more peppery styles

41

What is the most widely planted grape variety in California?

Chardonnay

42

Describe the inexpensive, high volume examples of Chardonnay in California
Where are they mostly made?

Fruity
Low to medium acidity
Sometimes a toasty note from oak staves or chips
Central Valley

43

What's the formative reputation of high quality Californian Chardonnay?

Very full-bodied
High alcohol
Low acidity
Peach and banana fruit flavours
Obvious flavours of oak, hazelnut and butter

44

Where are the more restrained, less oaky styles of Chardonnay being produced in California?

Los Carneros
Russian River Valley

45

What is California's 'second' white variety?

Sauvignon Blanc

46

Where does the best Sauvignon Blanc in California come from?

The coastal regions

47

Give an overview of the best Sauvignon Blancs in California

High acidity and ripe citrus flavours

48

Where are the more affordable fruity, everyday Sauvignon Blancs of California from?

Warmer regions such as Central Valley

49

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

50

Where in California is the majority of wine produced?

Central Valley

51

Briefly describe viticulture in Central Valley, California

Soil is very fertile and irrigation is used to increase yield

52

Where are California's premium wine regions located?

Primarily along the coast

53

What is the primary focus of quality wine producers along California's coast?

Managing quality in the vineyard
Producing wines reflective of each area

54

How many regions are the principal vineyards of California grouped into?

Five

55

Which three of California's five wine-making regions contain the majority of the state's well known County Appellations and AVAs?

North Coast
Central Coast
Central Valley

56

What are the principal winemaking counties of North Coast region in California?

Napa County
Sonoma County
Mendocino County

57

Where is California's North Coast region?

North of San Francisco Bay

58

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

59

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

60

How long is the Napa Valley AVA?

About 50km north to south

61

How wide is Napa Valley AVA?

Only about 5km

62

Which AVA has the most expensive land and some of the most prestigious wineries of California?

Napa Valley AVA

63

What marks the boundary of Napa Valley AVA with Sonoma County?

The Mayacamas Mountains to the west

64

What do the Vaca mountains separate Napa Valley AVA from?

The northern part of the Central Valley

65

Where within Napa Valley AVA are the vineyards found?

On the valley floor and each valley side

66

What creates the diverse range of styles available in Napa Valley AVA?

The variety of cooling influences which creates a diverse range of climates

67

What are the most significant cooling influences of Napa Valley AVA?

The morning fogs and cool afternoon breezes from San Pablo Bay

68

What essentially is San Pablo Bay?

The northern extension of San Francisco Bay

69

Which area of Napa Valley AVA do the San Pablo Bay fogs and breezes moderate?

The southern part

70

What is the most southerly vineyard area on the valley floor of Napa Valley AVA?

Los Carneros AVA

71

What area does Los Carneros AVA cover?

It extends into Sonoma County

72

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

73

What styles of wine are made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Los Carneros AVA?

Still and traditional method sparkling

74

What is the climate like slightly further north along the valley floor from Los Carneros AVA?

Warmer

75

What are the principal AVAs just north of Los Carneros AVA along the valley floor?

Stags Leap District
Yountville
Oakville
Rutherford

76

What are Stags Leap District, Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford primarily renowned for?

Premium Cabernets

77

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?

Rutherford
It's the warmest during the day

78

Which of the AVAs just north of Los Carneros AVA produces wines with the most power and structure? Why?

Rutherford
It's the least exposed to the cooling influences of San Pablo Bay and so is warmest during the day

79

Which other varieties are widely planted in Napa's premium Cabernet AVAs?

Merlot
Chardonnay
Sauvignon Blanc

80

Describe the flavours produced by whites of Stags Leap District, Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford

They all typically show white tropical fruit

81

What are the AVAs in the north of Napa Valley which receive the warmest daytime temperatures?

Saint Helena AVA and Calistoga AVA

82

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

83

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

84

What is the main grape produced in Saint Helena and Calistoga?

Cabernet Sauvignon

85

Which additional grapes are also grown in Saint Helena and Calistoga?

Zinfandel and Syrah

86

Which vineyards are unaffected by fog in Napa Valley? Why?

Many of those on the valley sides
They lie above the fog layer

87

How are the vineyards of the valley sides in Napa Valley cooled, if not by the fog?

By their altitude

88

Other than altitude, what else has an important effect on vineyard climate in the vineyards of the valley sides in Napa Valley?

Aspect

89

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

90

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

91

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

92

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

93

What is the principal variety of wines made from vineyards of the valley sides in Napa Valley?

Cabernet Sauvignon

94

Which other grapes are generally grown on the vineyards of the valley-side AVAs in Napa Valley?

Merlot
Cabernet Franc
Zinfandel
Chardonnay

95

What is the main white variety grown on the vineyards of the valley-sides in Napa Valley?

Chardonnay

96

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

97

Which is the larger of Sonoma and Napa County?

Sonoma County

98

Which of Sonoma and Napa has the greater variety of climates?

Sonoma County

99

Where is Russian River Valley AVA?

Sonoma County, to the west of Napa County

100

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

101

What wines is Russian River Valley AVA known for?

High quality, elegant wines made from:
Pinot Noir
Chardonnay
Sparkling wines from the above varieties

102

What are the main AVAs to the north of Russian River Valley AVA?

Dry Creek Valley AVA
Alexander Valley AVA

103

What is the climate like in Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley AVA?

Perceptibly warmer than Russian River Valley AVA

104

Describe how Dry Creek Valley AVA is planted

Planted densely on both the valley floor and sides

105

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

106

What other varieties are popular in Dry Creek Valley AVA?

Rhône varieties and Cabernet Sauvignon are also popular

107

Which AVA of Sonoma County is warmer still, than Dry Creek Valley AVA?

Alexander Valley AVA

108

How do the wines of Alexander Valley AVA compare with those of the other Sonoma AVAs?

They tend to be fleshier and fuller-bodied

109

What style of wine has Alexander Valley AVA built a particular reputation for?

Soft-textured, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon

110

Which varieties other than Cabernet does Alexander Valley AVA successfully make?

A range of international varieties

111

Which AVA lies to the west of Alexander and Dry Creek Valley?

Sonoma Coast AVA

112

What is the climate of Sonoma Coast AVA?

Greatly influenced by the cooling effect of the cold Pacific Ocean

113

How is ripening maximised in Sonoma Coast AVA?

By planting on south-facing slopes

114

Describe and name the AVA to the south of Sonoma Coast AVA

Sonoma Valley AVA runs parallel to Napa Valley

115

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)

116

What is Sonoma Valley AVA best known for?

High quality Chardonnays
Old vine Zinfandels

117

Generally describe Mendocino County

Very large and diverse

118

Which county lies to the north of Sonoma County?

Mendocino County

119

Name a notable AVA of Mendocino County
What does it produce?

Anderson Valley AVA
Aromatic whites made from varieties such as Riesling and Gewurztraminer
Sparkling wines

120

What is the weather like in Anderson Valley AVA?

Very cool

121

Describe conditions in Mendocino AVA

Much warmer and drier than Anderson Valley AVA

122

How does Mendocino AVA achieve such relatively warm, dry conditions?

It's protected behind coastal hills that rise up to 900 metres

123

Describe wines from Mendocino AVA

Full-bodied with soft tannins
Often made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Syrah

124

List major wine-producing counties of the Central Coast area in California

Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey
San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties

125

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

126

Describe the wines of Santa Cruz Mountains AVA

Some of California's most elegant Cabernet Sauvignons
Some high quality Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs

127

How can the conditions of Santa Cruz Mountains AVA best be described?

Moderate

128

Where is Monterey AVA?

It follows the path of the Salinas Valley in Central Coast

129

What is the biggest moderating influence in Monterey AVA?

The Pacific Ocean

130

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

131

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

132

Describe plantings in Salinas Valley, Monterey

There are a number of AVAs on the slopes surrounding the valley

133

Which is the most notable of the slope-AVAs along the Salinas Valley in Monterey County?

Santa Lucia Highlands AVA

134

What is Santa Lucia Highlands AVA most noted for producing?

High-quality Chardonnay with citrus and tropical fruit flavours and balanced acidity

135

Where are San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties located?

In the southern part of the Central Coast

136

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

137

What is the major AVA of San Luis Obispo County?

Paso Robles AVA

138

Of which varieties does Paso Robles AVA have major plantings?

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah

139

How many distinct zones does Paso Robles have?

Two

140

Describe the eastern zone of Paso Robles

Hot, sunny weather and deep, fertile soils
Supple, fruity wines for high volume brands

141

Describe the western zone of Paso Robles

Cooled by marine air
Reputation for high quality Zinfandel and Rhône varieties

142

Which AVA lies to the south of Paso Robles AVA?

Santa Maria Valley AVA

143

Where is Santa Maria Valley AVA

Santa Barbara County, Central Coast

144

Describe Santa Maria Valley AVA

Significantly cooler than Paso Robles AVA
Well-suited to growing premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes

145

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

146

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

147

Where of Santa Barbara County is slightly warmer?

Santa Ynez Valley AVA

148

What are the wines of Santa Ynez Valley AVA like?

Red wines from Syrah and Bordeaux varieties

149

Which AVA is in the far west of Santa Ynez?

Sta. Rita Hills AVA

150

Describe conditions in Sta. Rita Hills AVA

Much cooler than Santa Ynez Valley AVA

151

Why is Sta. Rita Hills AVA so much cooler?

It's strongly influenced by the ocean

152

What does Sta. Rita Hills AVA specialise in?

Pinot Noir

153

What other varieties does Sta. Rita Hills AVA produce?

Chardonnay and a number of aromatic varieties

154

Which areas is Central Valley comprised of?

Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys

155

Which area produces the vast majority of Californian wine?

Central Valley

156

Describe the climate of Central Valley

Mostly hot and dry

157

What is the reaction in the vineyards of Central Valley to the conditions?

Irrigation is widely practiced

158

What was new that came out of the conditions in Central Valley?

New varieties; Rubired and Ruby Cabernet

159

Which traditional varieties are widely planted in Central Valley?

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay
Colombard, Chenin Blanc and Barbera

160

Which AVA straddles the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys in the middle of Central Valley?

Lodi AVA

161

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

162

What varieties are grown in Lodi AVA?

Most varieties
Home to some of the oldest and best Zinfandel vineyards in the state