Alban Vineyards is in Edna Valley, San Luis Obispo County, on the central coast of California. Founded in 1986 by John and Lorraine Alban, the 66-acre estate was one of the original “Central Coast Rhone Rangers.” Like many of its newer neighbors, Alban Vineyards focuses entirely on making Rhone Valley style wines. The estate makes a limited amount of wine, which is hard to find, given the critic’s usual high regard for Alban’s Syrahs, Grenaches, Mourvedres and Viogniers. Robert M. Parker Jr. calls Alban Vineyards “the great shining success story of Edna Valley,” adding that the estate “is a stunning source for terrific wines.” Alban also shares some DNA with its famous neighbor in Ventura County, Sine Qua Non. Manfred Krankl, SQN founder and winemaker, trained with John Alban before starting SQN. Krankl made some of his first vintages in partnership with John Alban, a celebrated and influential winemaker.
Arroyo Grande Valley AVA is a 42,880-acre appellation within the Central Coast AVA. The appellation surrounds the town of Arroyo Grande, and is located southwest of San Luis Obispo. Located within four miles of the Pacific Ocean, the 16-mile long valley includes several microclimates, such a cooler lower one on the west end, where Pinot Noir is grown, and a higher, hotter microclimate inland, where Zinfandel thrives. Arroyo Grande was officially recognized as an AVA in 1990. Many grapes are grown here, including Grenache, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Tempranillo. Like most of the Central Coast, this AVA has a long tradition of farming. Most of the ever-growing number of wineries here have sprung up in the last 30 years and they tend to focus on Rhone varietals.
This is a full-bodied white variety has plenty of natural aromatics such as peach and violets. It’s a low yielding fruit, so it is grown for its taste over its economics. Viognier is considered an ancient grape and an early favorite of the Roman emperors.