Clear Lake AVA

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Nearly all of the AVA’s vineyards nestle between steep hills west of the lake, the largest entirely within California. By the early 1990s, the district, north of napa and east of mendocino, had grown some excellent Sauvignon Blanc and pleasant, early-maturing Cabernet Sauvignon. Zinfandel is well adapted, although few producers take advantage. The Red Hills AVA, within the greater Clear Lake appellation, has proved to be adept at Cabernet Sauvignon, with its volcanic and sometimes obsidian-laced soils providing tannic structure and minerality. Although several wineries (especially the original kendall-jackson facility) are located near the town of Lakeport, a considerable proportion of the region’s grapes go to wineries in Napa, Mendocino, and sonoma Counties.