Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
In both the southernmost and northernmost regions of the Central Coast, the cool climate and rare soils provide conditions for producing astonishingly great Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.
South: Santa Barbara County boasts the longest grape-growing season in California due to its cool sunshine and east-west facing mountain ranges that funnel in Pacific breezes.
North: Close to the deep and cold Monterey Bay, it's not surprising that summers are cool and winters are mild.
Edna Valley: This sub-appellation reaches all the way to the ocean, and its soils, laden with marine sediment, are testament to that proximity.
Santa Lucia Highlands: Most of this region's vineyards are above the fogline, so grapes get more sun and warmth, along with protection from the mountains.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Viognier
Situated between two much cooler growing regions lies Paso Robles, where the coastal mountains protect the vineyards and heat up the temperatures. This much warmer climate favors red Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, along with Rhone varieties including Viognier.
Paso Robles is famous for its dramatic temperature shifts, when the mercury reaches 95 in the afternoon, but by dawn the next day, the frost alarms are often sounding.