One of the more up-and-coming regions along the west coast, Oregon Pinot Noirs now rank among the very finest American wines. Like Burgundy, Oregon’s wine regions have developed many small AVAs, including Willamette Valley, Eola-Amity Hills and Dundee Hills, to name a few. While 58% of the vineyards here are Pinot Noir, Oregon is also known for Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Riesling. Temperatures are moderated by proximity to the ocean, and regions generally see much higher rainfall than its southern neighbor.
Sonoma County. Napa Valley. Mendocino. These are just a few of the prestigious regions found with the North Coast AVA. The appellation runs 120 miles north from the San Francisco Bay Area’s San Pablo Bay all the way to Mendocino County, and extends 50 miles inland. The region spans the mountainous terrain of both the Mayacamas and the Vaca Range, while drawing cooling wind and fog influence from the Pacific Ocean, combining to offer a seemingly endless diversity of terroir and terrain.
Sonoma County offers three distinct sections: Northern Sonoma, Sonoma Valley and the Sonoma Coast, each offering unique topography and terroir. All are heavily influenced by cooling wind and fog off the Pacific Ocean, drawn up the Russian River each day. While Cabernet Sauvignon takes center stage in the region, Sonoma County’s wide diversity of climate and elevation offers exceptional conditions for Merlot, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and more.
Monterey County vineyards are adjacent to one of the largest underwater canyons in the world—Monterey Bay’s “Blue Grand Canyon”—which sends brisk cooling winds off the deep, cold bay waters daily. The long valley extends southwest from the bay, roughly following the path of the Salinas Valley for 90 miles. Cooling coast influence is funneled into the valley between the Santa Lucia Mountains to the west, and the Gabilan range to the east. Combined with low average rainfall, this strong coastal influence creates one of the longest grape growing seasons in the world.
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