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Wine Spectator School

Class 3: Sonoma County and the Central Coast

Seeking Regionality


Tasting Goals

Compare and contrast Cabernets from the major regions in California. Pay special attention to the differences in fruit forwardness, ripeness, tannins and complexity.

The Three Wines

Purchase three Cabernets, one from each of these California regions:

  1. Napa Valley
  2. Sonoma County
  3. Central Coast AVA such as Paso Robles, Santa Cruz Mountains or Carmel Valley

The wines should be

  • From the broadest regional AVAs that you can find
  • From the same vintage, or within a year or two of each other.
  • Retail priced around $25 each.
    • Generally speaking, California's regional Cabs provide more distinct examples of terroir at this price or higher.
  • Priced within $10 of each other.
Make sure to write down the name of each wine...

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