In the heart of the Edna Valley wine country, where the bucolic views stretch for miles in any one direction, and vineyards line the country roads, if you’re lucky, you’ll stumble upon Chamisal Vineyards.
Historically speaking, Chamisal Vineyards claims to have planted the first vineyard in Edna Valley in 1973. However, the planting of the first vineyards actually date back to the 1880’s when the Franciscan padres planted the first vines along the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa trail.
Chamisal Vineyards was initially known as Domaine Alfred. The vineyards changed hands a few times over the years and eventually were replanted in the 1990’s with numerous high-end Pinot Noir clones, Syrah, Chardonnay, Grenache and Pinot Gris.
Aptly so, Chamisal Vineyards‘ namesake was derived from the fragrant native white-flowered shrub, the chamise. Keeping with the theme, Chamisal Vineyards features a top-line wine series labeled Califa, translated from the Modoc Indians to mean “the prettiest one”. And yes, they are the prettiest ones! Califa’s 2010 Pinot Noir recently earned 90 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and it is certainly deserving of every point. The blend of three Pinot Noir clones (115, 667 and 777) fills your mouth with lush blackberry, boysenberry and raspberry and is absolutely divine and worth the price ($60).
Another favorite is the 2009 Califa Syrah, which is extremely rich on the palette with flavors of blackberry and black plum with a touch of violet and underlying oak. On a lighter note, the 2011 Estate Grenache is outstanding and easy to pair with all foods. The red cherry and black plum flavors offer the slightest hint of sandalwood, anise and allspice and is very characteristic of a Chamisal Vineyards‘ Grenache, vintage after vintage. For Chardonnay lovers, try the 2012 Stainless Chardonnay, (three Chardonnay clones), for a crisp, acidic wine tasting of lush tropical pineapple, peach and red apple without the overdone oaky taste of a typical California Chardonnay.
What makes Chamisal Vineyards wines so unique? You’ve heard before ~ it’s the terroir! The vineyards are situated only a few miles from the ocean, which allows the gentle breezes and fog, in conjunction with the inland heat, to extend the hang time of the grapes, allowing the flavors to fully develop. Combine the temperate weather with the calcareous and volcanic soils and the results are perfectly ripened fruit with exceptional flavor and intensity, balanced with good acidity.
While anytime is a good time to visit Chamisal Vineyards, Summers are the best time of year to relax on the patio with a glass of wine. Chamisal Vineyards offers live music, outdoor movie showings on the big screen in the vineyards and fun wine club pick up events.