Paso Robles tends to dominate mindshare when it comes to San Luis Obispo County wines. That’s logical, because there are so many wineries there and a lot of excellent wine. But we shouldn’t overlook the AVAs to the south in SLO’s cool zone: Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande.
The Edna Valley AVA is just south of the town of San Luis Obispo and comes within five miles of the chilly Pacific Ocean. That proximity, which brings fresh breezes and morning fog, make it a Winkler Region II climate, great for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Rhone varieties and other grapes that like to play it cool.
Zocker Winery takes advantage of the climate by focusing on Gruner Veltliner and Riesling. Zocker is part of the Niven Family Wine Estates group which includes Baileyana, Tangent and others, each of which has a different varietal or stylistic focus.
In 1973, John Niven planted the 550-acre Paragon Vineyard in Edna Valley. That was the area’s start as a wine region. He also helped drive the process that led to Edna Valley’s AVA designation in 1982.
2014 Zocker Gruner Veltliner Paragon Vineyard Edna Valley 90 13.5% 750ml screwcap $20
This wine, which is reliable, food-friendly and varietally correct every year, offers a nose of mineral, celery salt, pear, dried lemongrass and underripe stone fruit. The palate is dry, medium-bodied and very fresh. Flavors match the nose with focused intensity and a long finish that’s all about minerality and juiciness.
Another strong producer of Edna Valley wines is Verdad Wine Cellars. Louisa Sawyer-Lindquist founded the winery in 2000 and focuses primarily on Spanish varieties. Much of the fruit comes from the organic and biodynamic Sawyer-Lindquist Vineyard which she established with her husband, Bob Lindquist of Qupé Wine Cellars, in 2005. Her wines are fermented with native yeasts and expressive of both terroir and variety.
2015 Verdad Albarino Sawyer-Lindquist Vineyard Edna Valley 91 13.0% 750ml $25
If you enjoy Albarino from Spain, you’ll feel right at home with this wine. It’s effortlessly delicious with aromas and flavors of nectarine, peach pit and white flowers. In the mouth it’s dry with medium+ body, juicy fruit and a generous finish. It drinks well with or without food.
I’ll write about Arroyo Grande soon.
Copyright Fred Swan 2017. Photo courtesy of Niven Family Wine Estates. All rights reserved.