One of the really promising trends in California winemaking is the renewed interest in old vineyards outside of Napa and Sonoma Counties. While these two counties get the lion's share of attention from critics and consumers alike, California's wine industry is far older and far more complex than we give it credit for.
Winemakers like Tegan Passalacqua of Turley Vineyards fame, and celebrity NYC sommelier turned winemaker Patrick Cappiello are turning out refreshing wines made from ancient vineyards and lesser-known grape varieties like Cinsault and Mission at their respective Sandlands and Monte Rio Cellars projects.
P'tit Paysan owner Ian Brand is another such winemaker, and sources his grapes from obscure but very old vineyards in the interior of Monterey and San Benito Counties. His Cabernet made from vines in San Benito County (inland from Carmel) is ripe but balanced, mineral-driven and relatively low in alcohol (12.9%). Compare that to the 15%+ you often encounter from Napa wines grown on the valley floor.
I wish more California reds were made in this style. 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot. Serve cool.