Contra Costa Wine

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The Contra Costa County AVA is located within the San Francisco Bay region of California’s Central Coast. They say Contra Costa was “Napa before there was Napa,” referring to the region’s illustrious past into the early 20th century. But like much of California’s regions, the Prohibition and then the Great Depression forced many wineries to turn to other crops, walnuts being the most popular. Once the country was in economic recovery mode, this area near the Oakland Hills, so close to San Francisco, became known as a suburban Mecca. 

Though recently, due to very favorable climate conditions and soil types, vineyard planting has been on the rise. One major asset to the region is the sandy soil that many of the old vines were planted in was largely resistant to Phylloxera, so a fair amount of very old Zinfandel vines are still in use. Rhone grapes such as Syrah and Mourvedre (a.k.a. Mataro) are also popular, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon. ~Amanda Schuster
– Description from Amanda Schuster

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Popular wines made in Contra Costa under $20

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Varietals Produced in Contra Costa View all

  • Mourvèdre

    History of the grape: Monastrell is a native of Spain, first grown in Murviedro near Valencia, and was eventually bro...

  • Zinfandel

    Parentage of the grape: Crljenak to Austria to America. In the 1970s, claims surfaced that the Italian Primitivo is l...

  • Syrah

    The irony here is that Syrah’s origins could give Carmen Sandiego a run for her international wallet. Syrah’s deepest...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Chardonnay

    British wine writer and critic, Jancis Robinson, once noted that throughout the 80’s and 90’s in the United States, C...

Popular Wineries in Contra Costa View all

  • viano vineyards

    Our century-old vineyard is nestled on hillsides surrounding a fertile little valley where coolin...

  • Sterling Albert Winery

    Sterling Albert Winery is a dream that has come to life. From the day I planted my first grapevin...

  • Cline Cellars

      Cline Cellars was founded in 1982 by Fred Cline, grandson of Valeriano Jacuzzi, founder of...

  • Hannah Nicole Vineyards & Winery

    We never intended to be in the wine business. In 1999, we purchased ten acres of land in the hear...

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Contra Costa on Snooth

  • Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel Planchon Vineyard 2009


    No written review

    Wine review by Mr Dolce

  • Oh, that's why it looks like OT is the only one posting:  Wrote this ... ... the last of my 3Wines Contra Costa Old Vines last night.  I've got one more Live Oak which is even better.  I'd say last night's was a little on the jammy side for me.  Still good, but not perfect. "Today my back is sore from spending the day crawling around in the b... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?

  • Cline Cellars Zinfandel Ancient Vines Contra Costa County 2012


    Agree with the previous reviewer about the ripeness. Fairly big fruity nose,and similar berry hit on the tongue. Disagree on the tannin. To me this one has fairly tame tannin. No problem with sediment--glass is crystal clear. Very pleasant, lingering finish. US$12.99 at Trader Joe's. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Cline Cellars Zinfandel Ancient Vines Contra Costa County 2012


    No written review

    Wine review by cmmidlo

  • Concannon Estate Bottled Livermore Valley Petite Sirah 1979


    Very nice aromas--smokey, leathery. Interesting fruitiness on the initial taste--something of stone fruits covered with the smokiness. There is a certain lightness in the back of the palate that portends a fairly short finish. This wine does not come with multiple levels of complexity, but it is very enjoyable. $US16.25 at Lawry's California ... Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Page Mill Cabernet Franc Livermore Valley Ghielmetti Vineyard 2011


    Floral and full of chaparral herb aromas on the nose along with some modest wood and plenty of sweet/tart red fruits. With an attractive blend of sweetness and savoriness without too much heaviness and weight on the palate this is rather light and fresh with mineral inflected tannins early on the palate. Tart red fruit, showing a bit of rhubarb... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • Page Mill Chardonnay Chandler Vineyard Livermore Valley 2012


    Stony, dusty, and slightly gamy on the nose with pear skin and old wood aromas. Simple and straightforward on entry, showing lovely purity of fruit, in a clean, fresh, and modestly complex style. There is a fine lying autolytic floral and softly Brie like character on the back end with good length and nice freshness on the finish. The fruit is o... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • Murrieta's Well Port Blend Livermore Valley Port 2012


    100% Touriga NacionalA bit spirity but showing fabulous spice and blue fruit and flowers flooding the nose with hints of mint, cinnamon, orange peel, and a medicinal hint of quinine Fairly sweet, smooth and polished in the mouth. Rich with raisins and dates and dried cherry fruit topped with some black tea, chocolate, carob, quinine, and some c... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • Murrieta's Well Touriga Francesca Los Tesoros Livermore Valley 2009


    Tight on the nose, dusty with a bit of beet root, and some inky, ashy minerality along with moderately imposing toasty oaks spice. Big, powerful, and mouth filling with sweetish, blue plum fruit framed with hints of ink, rhubarb, and again minerals. Packed with soft tannins and fairly powerful for the Murrieta's Well line-up, this lineup, this s... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • Murrieta's Well Zarzuela Los Tesoros Livermore Valley 2011


    32% Souzao, 22% Petite Sirah, 21% Tempranillo, 13%Barbera, 11% Graciano, 1%TourigaEarthy on the nose with an early bit of cedar followed by dark blue fruit, vanilla, earthy fruit that is a bit plummy, wood shavings, and a hint of juniper. rather full on entry with an early hint of juniper in the mouth, followed by lovely blue fruit with violet f... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

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