The AVA (Oak Avenue) area in San Louis Obispo County is located in the Central Coast region of California. The first vines were planted here in the 18th century by missionaries of the Franciscan Order for the production of sacramental wine. The Mission variety(Listán Prieto), brought from Spain, was mainly used for this purpose. The vineyards cover about 10,500 hectares, stretching from Monterey in the north to the town of San Luis Obispo in the south. To the east, the area is bordered by the Santa Lucia Mountains, which shield from Pacific influences. In the east, the climate is warm and dry, in the west it is a bit cooler due to sea breezes.
The typical grape variety here is Zinfandel, others are the Bordeaux varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Chardonnay, as well as the Rhône varieties Syrah, Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier, introduced by the Rhône Rangers in the 1980s. The Italian counterpart to the Rhône Rangers is the Cal-Ital group, which prefers Italian varieties such as Aglianico, Barbera, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese. The area is also known for its crazy blends, which are unusual cuvées or winegrowing styles. Some of the most famous wineries are Alban Vineyards, L'Aventure, Fetzer, Linne Calodo, Ridge Vineyards, Saxum Vineyards, Tablas Creek Vineyard and Villa Creek Cellars.
Picture: Wine Institute of California