It has been a strange day. We left Las Vegas at 7:30 a.m. It was 80 degrees and drizzling a light mist of rain. On the roughly 400-mile, seven-hour drive to Nipomo in California’s Central Coast, we went from 4,300 feet down to sea level, from rain to bright sunlight (and 104 degrees) to our final destination, where the temperature at sunset was 58 degrees.
Watching the local news tonight, the forecast for the next seven days in Nipomo is that the high will not be above 70 degrees.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining. After 50 days of 100-plus heat in Las Vegas, the cool weather is a welcome respite. People don’t realize that it can be this cool in California in the summer. It all stems from the flow of the ocean currents. Cold waters from Alaska make their way down toward the equator, bringing shoreline fog and coolness with it. You may remember the quote attributed to Mark Twain: “The coldest winter I ever spent was one summer in San Francisco.”
But I digress. What does this have to do with wine?
Actually, quite a bit. The inland temperatures in California can be very hot in the summer, reaching temperatures up to 110 degrees. This is not a good thing for grapes, or most other living things. Ah, but the fog… It makes its way inland wherever there are valleys or low lands, bringing cooling, moist breezes that keep the grapes happy. Some of the best grape-growing areas are those where the fog can roll in on a regular basis. Appellations/regions like Carneros, Russian River, Santa Lucia, southwest Paso Robles and Santa Rita are among the beneficiaries of the Alaskan-born currents and resultant cooling fog. We will be visiting the last three areas in our travels this month.
But for today, it was about arrival, unpacking, relaxing, and having dinner at our favorite restaurant: Jocko’s Steakhouse, right here in Nipomo. I washed down the 16-oz. filet mignon, cooked to a perfect medium-rare, with a bottle of 2005 Langtry Meritage red.
With appetite and thirst happily satiated, I blogged this note…
Now, off to bed and dreams of the wine adventures to come!