Central Coast Wines Made Easy

by Anthony Head

There are rumors swirling on the Internet about a couple of spots to the north of San Francisco that are supposedly making some very good cabernet sauvignon. Let me stress that, at this time, they are only rumors, but a crack squad from the Oenophile Army will be dispatched soon to try and investigate the claims.

What we do know now is that Central Coast cabernets are world-class wines that are being produced much closer to home. J. Lohr turns out several cabs from primarily Paso Robles vineyards and each wine is a distinct example of its home terroir. The 2010 Hilltop, for example, is aromatic with dark fruit and mocha; there are big flavors of black plum, ripe raspberry, and chocolate. But it’s really a bit softy. Despite 14 percent alcohol, Hilltop remains balanced with tannins that provide structure without aggression. The finish is lush and rich with desirable vanilla and oak. In other works: world-class.

So until these rumors of a “northern California wine country” can be confirmed or denies, I’d stick with the Central Coast.

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