The Arroyo Grande and Edna valleys are made of incredible landscapes of impressive hills, sprawling farm land and winding country back roads. When speaking of world-class wines, the region is most recognized for the highly acclaimed estate vineyards of the Talley family. Talley Vineyards has been producing luxury Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes from these near perfect sites since 1982 when Don Talley first planted a trial plot at what is now known as the Rincon Vineyard. Once the trial was deemed a success, a real winery was built in 1991, the estate vineyard plantings expanded and the Talleys embarked on the journey which has culminated in an ongoing legacy of producing exemplary Central Coast wines from the Arroyo Grande and Edna valleys.
The estate vineyards now include 190 acres split between six vineyards in the area. Rincon, Rosemary’s, Monte Sereno and Las Ventanas Vineyards are all located within the Arroyo Grande AVA. In Edna Valley, Talley has Oliver’s Vineyard, as well as Stone Corral Vineyard, which is a collaborative estate with Stephen Ross and Kynsi. Each winery makes a distinguished wine from the vineyard.
While each vineyard is significant, from the tiniest site – Monte Sereno with its three acres of alluvial soils – to the youngest vineyard – Las Ventanas with its higher yields – the most renowned are Rincon and Rosemary’s Vineyard. From these two estates, Talley Vineyards has been awarded incredible press, including countless scores from prominent critics in the high nineties.
The 2014 vintage certainly does not disappoint. To taste Rincon and Rosemary’s offerings side by side is quite a treat, and very telling of the difference in the vineyard sites. The Chardonnays are showing beautifully, with the Rincon boasting chalky minerality from the calcareous soil. Rosemary’s presents the romantic stone fruit notes that typically come from the vineyard. The Pinot Noirs were equally impressive. Rincon embodies a richer and darker fruit style, with soft tannin. The Rosemary’s is surprisingly spicy and balanced with lovely red fruit.
Talley Vineyards has two exciting extracurricular activities on deck. The first is an annual philanthropic endeavor, in its ninth year, called Mano Tinta. Mano Tinta wine is sold through Talley Vineyards, and the entire package is donated so that the profits from the sales benefit the Fund for Vineyard and Farm Workers (created by Brian and Johnine Talley). The foundation provides grants to workers’ families through existing groups within the community. Each year, Talley Vineyards hosts a competition for the label art in which anyone can participate, by entering the competition with their artwork or by contributing to the vote. Voting begins March 26th in the Talley Vineyards Tasting Room and will continue through the month of April. See page 24 for more information.
In addition to the wonderful Mano Tinta project, Brian Talley is set to release his cookbook, entitled Our California Table: Celebrating the Seasons with the Talley Family. Brian Talley tells the tale of his family’s farming history with 50 different recipes. The recipes are organized seasonally, which is convenient for subscribers to the Talley Farms Fresh Harvest Box (visit talleyfarmsfreshharvest.com for more information). While Brian admits that he is not a professionally trained chef, the Talley name is synonymous with the finest ingredients the Central Coast has to offer, and surely, they have learned how to put the pieces together over the years! Like the Mano Tinta project, the cookbook will also raise money for the Fund for Vineyard and Farm Workers.
For more information about the vineyards, wine and extracurricular activities, visit talleyvineyards.com or visit in person daily from 10:30am to 4:30pm at 3031 Lopez Drive in Arroyo Grande.