Monday, October 30, 2023

Exploring Wine Regions - California Central Coast: Discovering Great Wines, Phenomenal Foods and Amazing Tourism by Michael Higgins -- BOOK REVIEW



This book about the wines of California's Central Coast is the third book in Michael Higgins's Exploring Wine Regions series. The first two books covered Bordeaux country in France and the wines of Argentina. Like the first two, this California book is a meticulously researched, insider account of wineries and vineyards, as well as a travel guide to the food, special lodging, sights, and history you will find.

This book focusses on the Central Coast of California, specifically Monterey, San Louis Obispo, and Santa Barbara Counties. This coastal area stretches from south of San Francisco to Santa Barbara, just north of Los Angeles. Higgins is familiar with all the wine regions of California. He focused on the Central Coast region because, as he says:
Every type of wine is made here. Terroir is incredibly diverse, allowing for the optimum growing of just about any wine grape. Central Coast wine makers tend to be less rigid, more creative, and inventive. The tourism is better than you can imagine. Restaurants and accommodations at wineries are becoming common here.
Like the other books in his series, Higgins has packed his California book with detailed information about the geography, wines, wine makers, and wineries of each appellation and sub-appellation of the region. He also includes all the information you need to travel to and through the Central Coast's wine country. The book is also gorgeous, filled with amazing photographs. It is a beautiful coffee table book for armchair travel as well as an indispensable guide to a fascinating wine region. 


I'm familiar with some of the wineries of the Central Coast, mostly those around Paso Robles, from when I lived in San Francisco. But we never did a deep dive into wines of this area. California is close to me here in Oregon and we have family in the Bay Area and Central Coast, so I plan to use this book to plan several wine-centered road trips.

You can read my review of Higgins's France and Argentina books here. Go to the Exploring Wine Regions website for more information about this book, the series, and Michael Higgins.

Most everyone knows of Napa Valley and Sonoma County; however, the Central Coast Wine Regions are producing top-level, high-quality wines, and the tourism is extraordinary.

Twenty million years ago, the Pacific Plate arose from the Pacific Ocean hitting the North American Plate (Canada, United States and Mexico) leaving a sliver of land above the water along California’s coast south of San Francisco. This sliver of land has its own very special terroir highly conducive to making high-quality wines. This book takes you on a journey to discover these amazing wines.
Also, the tourism along the central coast of California is unmatched. The beaches, mountains and valleys are ever so enchanting. The wineries are engaging, have lots of tourism activities available, and are especially inviting and friendly, unlike other wine regions. It’s not uncommon to find the vintner or winemaker at the tasting room wanting to share their stories and their love of wine with you.

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