« Food & Drinks

Burgundy's California cousin

by Jeff Flynt

When people discuss food and drinks, you may often hear the term, "layers of flavor." With wine (aside from the essence category) there are also layers of terroir.

For example, California has a lot of different wine regions. Within those regions, are numerous American Viticultural Areas (or AVAs). (NOTE: Regions can be AVAs. I'm aware of this, but just follow this idea).

AVAs come in all shapes, sizes, soils and micro-climates. Each distinct characteristic for an AVA can be expressed inside each glass of wine that's produced there.

Staying in the Golden State, Sonoma County is home to 11 distinct and two shared AVAs. One of these distinct AVAs is the Sonoma Coast.  It has over 500,000 acres of land from San Pablo Bay right up to Mendocino County.

Within that, is what's known as the West Sonoma Coast.

Still with me?

The Wall Street Journal took time to write a great piece on this part of the wine-growing world, which is producing wonderfully expressive Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

You may be thinking: What does this have to do with Burgundy?

Answer: Everything. The main varietals of Burgundy are...wait for it...Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The key to all of this is that much of the climate and soil which makes Burgundy wonderful, is the reason winemakers like Vanessa Wong, Nick and Andy Peay, can produce wines that mirror the structure and nuance of classic Burgundies.

The other thing to take away from this story is that there are always new wines and labels to discovery each and every day. People are working all over, sometimes right under your nose, and producing great wines that you can enjoy without being stuck in a rut with whatever it is you buy at your local store.