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Ancient Peaks
 
November 6, 2014 | Vineyard | Ancient Peaks

Introducing Santa Margarita Ranch AVA

We earlier shared the news about the establishment of the Santa Margarita Ranch AVA as one of 11 new sub-appellations of the umbrella Paso Robles AVA.

Now we're going to dig a little deeper into the distinguishing characteristics of the Santa Margarita Ranch AVA, including the rare diversity of soil types pictured below. 

The Santa Margarita Ranch AVA is situated along the foot of the coastal Santa Lucia Mountain Range, roughly 25 miles southeast of the city of Paso Robles and just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the west. Our estate Margarita Vineyard now enjoys the rare distinction of being the only vineyard located within its own namesake AVA

Below are highlights of the growing conditions found in the Santa Margarita Ranch AVA. All quotes are from the adopted Santa Margarita Ranch AVA petition:

  • The Santa Margarita Ranch viticultural area “is distinctive from that of other areas of the Paso Robles AVA, in terms of topography, geology, geological history, soils, and climate.”
     
  • Santa Margarita Ranch is one of the coolest sub-appellations within the Paso Robles AVA, making it “very much a true, cool Region II climate.” The maritime influence increases “to the west towards the Pacific Ocean and below specific topographic gaps in the range.”
     
  • Santa Margarita Ranch is also marked by an unusual diversity of soils, due largely to an array of active fault lines along the coastal ridge: “The surficial geology here is also different than in other parts of the Paso Robles AVA…with an extensive area of the Miocene age Santa Margarita marine sandstone interfacing with the Monterey shales, granitic rocks to the east, and ‘slices’ (due to faulting) of the older Cretaceous marine sedimentary rocks and conglomerates to the west.”
     
  • Of the 11 sub-appellations within the Paso Robles AVA, Santa Margarita Ranch receives among the highest amount of rainfall—29 inches per year on average “as Pacific storms dump their water across the steep, high mountain ridge.”

These distinctive growing conditions impart a pronounced sense of place in our wines. Paso Robles is our home, and we will always lead with the Paso Robles message on our labels and elsewhere. But the establishment of the Santa Margarita Ranch AVA allows us to drill down more clearly into what makes our location distinctive, and why it matters to our wines. 

Comments

Sean's Gravatar
 
Sean
@ Dec 2, 2014 at 1:52 PM
Thanks for the blog post. In the last paragraph, you mention the potential for the AVA to express a sense of place. Can you ELI5 the qualities in the wine(s) that one would expect to experience?

Ancient Peaks's Gravatar
 
Ancient Peaks
@ Dec 4, 2014 at 10:22 AM
Sure, the AVA gets a cold spring followed by a pronounced summer marine influence, resulting in a late, long growing season that fosters full flavors and fine structure, two hallmarks of our wines. Even in warmer, riper years the acidity and tannins still hold. Margarita Vineyard also spans an unusual range of soils, so we get a lot of block-to-block complexity in the field. We think our wines speak pretty clearly to this distinctive sense of place.

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