Thursday, April 8, 2010

Monterey County - superb wines in an perfect region

Vineyard photo courtesy of Wrath Wines
Start with superb soils; mix in generous warm sunshine with a sprinkle of cool ocean breezes. Let it slowly ripen, with up to 60 days longer growing season than other regions. The result is a perfect place to grow complex and balanced wines that reach their full potential – Monterey County.

Monterey County has a very special “terroir”, which in French means a “sense of place”. Wines from Monterey vineyards tend to have intense varietal characteristics.
While the Spanish missions in the county first planted wine grapes over 200 years ago, the area was rediscovered in the ‘60s when it was discovered that the climate and soils of Monterey were very similar to those found in Napa, Sonoma, Burgundy and Bordeaux.

A wide range of varietals are grown in the county, but Chardonnay is the most popular, accounting for nearly 40% of the acreage planted. The northern county includes vineyards of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Riesling. In the warmer southern portion, you will find Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel.

Monterey’s unique climate is key to the ripening of the grapes. It has a shorter frost season and less unseasonable rains. As air warms in the southern part of the county and rises, it draws in the cool Pacific Ocean air from the Monterey Bay, home to the “Blue Grand Canyon”, a canyon in the center of the bay over a mile deep.

Due to the lack of frosts, bud break in Monterey County is 2 weeks earlier than other areas. The cool growing season stretches Fall harvest season out 2 weeks longer than other regions. This longer growing season and longer hang time helps provide the even ripening.
Sub-appellations in Monterey County include Carmel Valley, Santa Lucia Highlands, Arroyo Seco and Chalone in the north. The southern portion of the county includes San Bernabe, San Lucas, Hames Valley and San Antonio Valley.
Wrath Wines 2008 “Destruction Level” Sauvignon Blanc has an intense nose with aromas of grapefruit and light smoke, with tropical fruit character. The flavors are rich with grapefruit, tropical fruits, grassy and minerality. It has a good amount of acidity to give it the brightness you expect from such a wine. List price is $23.95.

In antiquity the wrath of a victorious army often left cities burnt to the ground, the charred remains of a once great civilization. Thousands of years later, these events show up in the archeological records as a dark carbon-filled strata, or destruction level. The subtle smoky quality of the Wrath Sauvignon Blanc, which utilizes 30 percent new oak is an ode to the smoke-filled smell of victory that greeted the victorious generals of the past.
La Rochelle Wines 2006 Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands is a complex, mouth-filling wine with abundant dark fruits and aromas of dark cherry, mushroom, soy and forest floor. In the mouth you will savor the dark cherry, raspberry, pomegranate and rich round tannins. The finish goes on forever. Suggested list price is #34.95.
La Rochelle wines specialize in Pinot Noir, producing many vineyard specific and appellation specific selections. This Santa Lucia Highlands wine is produced with grapes from Sleepy Hollow, Sarmento and Paraiso Vineyards, all premium vineyards in the appellation.

More Monterey County wines will be covered in a later article.
For more info: 

1 comment:

  1. Wrath wines website says the price on that Destruction Level is $29