Megan Hughes grew up in various parts of the Central Coast of California, so when she decided, after working a few years as a wine wholesaler, to make wine of her own she was adamant that she would represent her home region despite continuing to live and work in the Bay Area. As if that wasn’t enough to keep her out of trouble, she has started her own wine distribution company. Partnered with Michael Brughelli, a winemaker of note in his own right, but also a vineyard consultant and manager, who manages the farming and brings access to premier, organically farmed Central Coast vineyards such as Rancho Real, Megan makes the wines at Au Bon Climat winery. So, oak: it's a controversial flavor in our current wine culture and many a wine enthusiast self-deprecates their taste for oak when they find out that we are “wine guys” but a wise wine drinker doesn’t fall prey to dogma and acknowledges that some wines are great, and even improved, with judicious amounts of oak flavor. Pinot Grigio (the Italian name for Pinot Gris) is sometimes derided as “Italian water” for its neutral flavors, and while the use of oak is rare for Northern Italian Pinot Grigio, it is more common in warmer parts of the world such as Alsace and Oregon. In the case of the Santa Maria Valley, where the cooling Pacific Breezes contend with the warm southern latitude, the subtle toasty notes of used Hungarian oak barrels amplify the peach and pear notes in a similar way to how grilling peaches or pears concentrates their flavors. Speaking of grilled peaches, this would be excellent with a grilled peach salad or, as Megan is proud to say, with nothing at all as you pound it on the porch.