California is one of the important wine regions today producing 90% of the wine in North America. As a result, the most wine purchased in North America is from California.
The varied climates of California’s AVA’s* make the wines unique to each region and give us the variety to choose the style of wine that fits the occasion and our palate.
Seventy Five percent of the wines produced in California are from the Central Valley AVA. Central Valley (or San Joaquin Valley) AVA is flat farmland that is further inland from the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco; the weather is warmer, sunnier and drier than other regions in California.
This week we are highligting 2 of the sub-regions in the Central Valley AVA. The Lodi region produces the ever popular zinfandel; and the Clarksburg region where Chenin Blanc is produced.
Lodi is one of the most popular AVA’s in the Central Valley and is noted for producing the ever popular Zinfandel, although zinfandel is grown in almost every region in the state in the varying range of climates.
Zinfandel is known to have different personalities. At times it is a berry fruit forward red wine. It can be spicy and have strong tannins; it can be a soft and maybe slightly sweet rose style. The flavors will change based on the climate where it is grown.
Central Valley’s Clarksburg AVA climate has warm summery days and cool nights and a long dry growing season. The Clarksburg region is coming into its own and it is known for producing Chenin Blanc — a white wine that is fighting to find it’s way. There are a couple of producers making affordable Chenin Blanc that is is definitely worth trying.
This white wine is not one of the most popular varietals, however it is a food friendly wine with similar versatility as Riesling.
Chenin Blanc, like Riesling, is made in various styles from dry, off-dry to sweet. This makes Chenin Blanc pair well shellfish, oysters, pork, and soft cheeses. The sweet styles can be paired with fresh fruits and sweet desserts.
If you’ve been wanting to try a different wine check your local wine shop for a Zinfandel and Chenin Blanc from the Central Valley region of California.
*AVA — AVA is an acronym for American Viticultural Area. This is an area that has been designated as a wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguished by its geographic features. The boundries are definied by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), and the United States Department of Treasury.
Once an AVA has been established, the winery must use 85% of the grapes grown in its specific region to make the wine if the AVA is referenced on its label.