by Fred McMillin
for February 2, 1999


A Central Coast Toast


The Central Coast covers an area 300 miles long and 60 miles wide, running from the San Francisco Bay south to Santa Barbara. These fertile valleys, between the Pacific coastline and the mountain ranges that separate the coast from the Central Valley, are influenced by the natural air conditioning of the ocean breezes that cool these valleys every afternoon of mid-summer.

...The Central Coast Wine Book by Paul Hinkle

Central Coast grapes are so new that their history is measured in months and years rather than decades and years. The vineyards came into being after grape selection was market driven, so it is full of Chardonnay...etc.

...Wine Atlas of California by Bob Thompson

Central Coast Chardonnays are particularly popular because of (a) their fruity style and (b) they often are a bargain compared with Chardonnays from Napa and Sonoma. Also, the cool growing conditions increase the acid level which provides a refreshing crispness.

...San Francisco Chronicle, Larry Walker

A Perfect Example

Bargetto Winery  
Jim Vaughan, Bargetto Winery exec, points out a perfect example. It's their Central Coast 1997 Chardonnay...high acid content of around 0.7%...grape sources range from Santa Clara County in the north to Santa Barbara County in the south...plenty of fruit flavors not buried under too much oak...all for a bargain ten bucks.

The Wine

1997 Bargetto Central Coast Chardonnay
Tasting Notes—Light, refreshing, ideal for fish and fowl the way you cook them at home.
RATING—Highly recommended in its price range.
Price—$10 range.


The Bargetto's arrived in California long before anyone produced a wine called Chardonnay. Giuseppe and his son Philip reached the Golden State from Asti (Piedmont, Italy) in 1887. After five years dad went back home but Philip hung in there. His brother John joined him in 1909 and they finally started their own winery in 1933.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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