WS Top 100 Day 5: Edna Valley
Edna Valley is one of those special California AVAs that seems to excel at producing any varietal that is planted. There is a long history of grape growing and winemaking in Southwestern San Luis Obispo County that dates back to the Spanish Missionary days.
It seems a little counterintuitive for such a small region to make great wines with both Rhone and Burgundian grapes, but that is exactly what is happening in Edna Valley. Located only a few miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, much of the east-west running valley is open to coastal wind and fog.
On the surface, it seems that only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir would do well here. But it is Edna Valley’s remarkably long growing season that makes it one of the strongholds of the “Rhone Rangers.” John Alban is one of the original members of this winemaking movement.
The Alban 2004 Edna Valley Reva Syrah is ranked #50 on the 2006 Wine Spectator Top 100. This is not the first time Alban has graced the list and it will probably not be the last. He only made 1,000 cases of this wine, but you can also look for his Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier, and Roussanne.
Domaine Alfred’s 2004 Edna Valley Chamisal Vineyard Pinot Noir” is right behind Alban at #51. Proprietor Terry Speizer bought the old Chamisal property in 1994, (it was originally planted in 1972), and began replanting the vineyard with carefully selected clones. This is a serious wine from vine to bottle and is very reasonable at $28. The difficulty lies in finding it.