The first vineyard we visited on the trip was Fort Ross (well, tasting room), which is on the coast, just north of Jenner-by-the-Sea. We didn't get to the ocean, just to the coast. I'm sure the Pacific was very chilly, but there were plenty of seals sleeping on the beach.
We went to the tasting room because that is what is open to the public. We had our tasting and then sat outside for a picnic lunch overlooking their deck. The weather on the coast is cooler than inland, so the grapes will taste a little different because of this. The wine I liked the most here was the Chardonnay. While Chardonnays are beginning to be really oaky, heavy, and butter, Fort Ross's Chardonnay is able to keep its crisp, fruity flavor because of the cooler weather. The crispness reminded me of a Pinot Grigio and it wasn't heavy at all.
I prefer light white wines because I tend to drink white wines more in the summer. I'm mostly making light dishes since I don't want to spend a lot of time cooking, and heavy dishes just make me feel blah in the summer. Light, crisp white wines tend to work best with what I eat most of during the summer.
They also grow Pinotage, which we found out is a variety of grape that was created in South Africa. It is South Africa's signature variety and it was created by crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, which is known as Hermitage in South Africa, hence Pinotage.
Here's our tasting list:
Pinot Noir Symposium