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Wine Spectator School

Class 7: New World Model: California


A small region of gently rolling hills, Carneros is one of California's first vineyard areas with viniculture dating back to the 1870s.

The region straddles the southern ends of both Napa and Sonoma counties, though the majority of the vineyards are on the Sonoma side.


Climate and Geography

The climate receives the full force of cool air from San Pablo Bay, and the clay and loam soils are thin and less fertile.

A seemingly inhospitable area for agriculture, Carneros nevertheless produces some outstanding wines.

The climate and soils work together to stress the vines, reducing the quantity of grapes produced by each vine; the few grapes that are produced receive the full attention of the vines and therefore accumulate more concentrated flavors.


Key Wines

The early-ripening Chardonnay and Pinot...

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