August 05, 2021 by Arden Montgomery
‘Gaux to California
Where else can you find peaceful Pacific coastlines, dramatic desertscapes, and lush vineyard sites all in one place? We know we may be biased, but California truly has it all. No need to hop on a plane to fulfill your dream weekend getaway! Whether looking for salt-tinged days spent on the beach or long hikes scouring through majestic Redwood forests, California has something to offer every type of long weekend traveler. Though one thing’s for sure—no matter where you choose to spend your down time, you’re definitely going to need some wine.
‘Gaux to California – What to Know About California Wine
Main Regions: North Coast (Napa, Sonoma), Central Coast (Paso Robles, Santa Barbara),
Grape Varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel, & More
Fun fact: Although wine is made all across America, California’s wine production accounts for a whopping 90% of the United States’ total annual output!
California Wine Regional Breakdown
Location / How to Get There: Approx. one hour drive north from San Francisco, immediately north of the San Pablo Bay
Terroir: Foggy, hilly, and very susceptible to fires; overall
What to Know: Despite its small size, there are 16 sub-AVAs in Napa: Atlas Peak, Calistoga, Chiles Valley, Coombsville, Diamond Mountain District, Howell Mountain, Los Carneros, Mount Veeder, Oak Knoll District, Oakville, Rutherford, Spring Mountain, St. Helena, Stag’s Leap, Wild Horse Valley, and Yountville
Not to Miss: For foodies, The Restaurant at Meadowood, French Laundry, and PRESS are absolute musts!
How to get there: Approx. one hour drive from San Francisco Airport (SFO)
Terroir: Cool-climate, foggy, and heavily influenced by Pacific ocean breezes
What to Know: Sonoma is broken down into three sub-regions (Sonoma Valley, Northern Sonoma, and Sonoma Coast) and is home to 18 sub-AVAs.
Not to Miss: Downtown Healdsburg is a great place to stroll around, grab a coffee / beer break, and play a round of Bocce – did you know that more than seven local wineries have courts?
Paso Robles Wine
How to get there: Drive from San Luis Obispo airport (approx. 35 mins) or hop a one hour flight from LAX
Terroir: Warm, vast (coastal / beachy to the west to more desert-like conditions inland), diverse soils (alluvial and sandy to calcareous and clay-based)
What to Know: This is hands-down red wine country! If you love Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, or Rhône blends, this region’s for you.
Not to Miss: Picnic in Barney Schwartz Park, shop the downtown boutiques, and cool off for an afternoon at Ravine Water Park.
Santa Barbara Wine
How to get there: Fly directly into Santa Barbara airport, located just 7 miles away from downtown Santa Barbara. Alternatively, land in LAX and drive / take the coach bus to downtown SB (approx. 1 hour and 45 minutes).
Terroir: Nestled between two mountain ranges, with elevations ranging from 200 – 3,400+ feet; lots of soil diversity, from limestone to clay loam to diamtamaceous earth (DE)
What to Know: Unlike most valleys that run north to south, Santa Barbara actually runs east to west–in other words, sideways (yes, as in the inspiration for that Sideways!)
Not to Miss: Head down to the beach and check out Breakwater, Char West, Longboard’s Grill, or Santa Barbara Shellfish Company for some of the best (and freshest) seafood delights.
No Name Santa Barbara County Chardonnay
This delicious, easy-drinking wine promises to quench your thirst after long days beneath the sun. Expect flavors of banana, ripe pear, fresh apple, and red peach sherbert to jump from the wine’s smooth, mineral-driven palate. Produced from sustainably-farmed fruit and great for all occasions / palate preferences – especially if crab cakes, gouda, or Shrimp Enchiladas Verde is on the menu.
No Name Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir
Looking for a red that covers all of your bases? This perfectly balanced Pinot Noir is just the tickets. Notes of ripe cranberry, cherry, black tea, and cacao nibs ooze from the wine’s soft, mouth-coating palate. Crafted from sustainably-farmed fruit, only 92 cases produced. Serve slightly chilled for maximum enjoyment.
Pec & Burl ‘A Tale of Two Dudes’ Red Blend
For end-of-the-day barbecues to send the day out with a bang, this rich and powerful red blend promises to please an array of palates. Expect bold flavors of blackberries, spring flowers, and a touch of white pepper to lead to a lingering, long-lasting finish. Pop with juicy cheeseburgers, tender steaks, and all things grilled (veggies included!)
Wonderland Project No. 9 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
As we at Argaux like to say, you can’t ‘Gaux to California without a luscious bottle of Cab! Wonderland Project’s No. 9 Cabernet Sauvignon is loaded with dense flavors of smashed blackberries, cedar, bay leaf, leather, and graphite. Polished tannins and tobacco-driven undertones lead to a lasting, unforgettable finish. Note: This is the first vintage of No. 9 Napa Cabernet, and there’s a reason The French Laundry was first to pick it up…. don’t mind if we do, too! Made from organically-farmed fruit, only 1,5000 cases produced. Pair with Steak Frites with Béarnaise Butter or a tasty In-N-Out burger for a true taste of authentic California food and wine pairing.