North Coast AVA includes California’s most prestigious sub-appellations and vineyards. The three million acre area includes vineyards in six counties north of San Francisco and nearly 50 sub-appellations. The Napa Valley and Sonoma County AVAs are just two of the renowned sub-appellations included in the North Coast designation, which also includes the AVAs Diamond Mountain District, Howell Mountain, Oakville, Stag’s Leap and Rutherford, which are all among the most acclaimed wine producing districts in California. The North Coast AVA designation is generally used for wines made by blending grapes grown in several counties or AVAs. The appellation includes part of the counties of Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Marin, Solano and Lake.
The Merlot grape is such a deep blue that it is named for the blackbird. It’s an early ripening grape and one of the primary varietals used In Bordeaux. Merlot is also grown in the "International style," which is harvested later to bring out more tannins and body.