Though less than half a century old, and remarkably young compared to its European counterparts, the wine industry in California has managed to enchant the country’s wine buying public as well as receive accolades from “across the pond.” This may be because of two realities. First is the undeniable quality of the wines—remarkably fruity, full and satisfying, rarely too austere or tannic to be savored from the first day. The second is the “buy American” angle. A very high number of American wine buyers simply prefer domestic to foreign wines.
The state plays host to an enormous range of microclimates and soils as well as a lot of sunshine, hot summer days and dry harvests. All these factors contribute to healthy ripe fruits that make European producers, in less dependable climates, green with envy. More than three out of every four years, California’s best sites produces excellent wines.
The U.S. is not protectionist when it comes to taxing imported wines compared to many other countries, but the California wine industry is inherently protected because of consumers wanting to buy American.
To most people, the Napa Valley is the home of California wine, and Cabernet is the clear king in Napa. Burgundy varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have moved to cooler areas, for the most part closer to the Pacific. This includes the western stretches of Sonoma County, the Anderson Valley in Mendocino County, and the Santa Maria and Santa Ynez valleys of Santa Barbara County. In regions as contrasting as Mendocino County, the Sonoma coast, Carneros, Paso Robles, and Santa Maria Valley, Syrah vines have yielded interesting wines. Excellent Zinfandel is also produced all over the state and may be the only California wine emulated abroad.
Wine Enthusiast, 90 points: Showcasing the Pisoni signature of huge, bold fruit, this wine has ripe and savory flavors of raspberry, cherry, pomegranate, persimmon. The wine tastes of oak, too, in the form of vanilla and smoky butter. It's a...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 90 points: The energy and focus that is typical of the cooler sites within the Santa Lucia Highlands comes through in the 2010 Pinot Noir Rosella’s. Dark red cherries, flowers, mint and spices are woven together nicely as the wine...
Wine Spectator, 96 points: Delivers a rich, potent mix of layered flavors that are deep and pure, brimming with black licorice, dark berry, mocha, tea and floral notes that are tight, focused and persistent, with gutsy tannins. Drink now through...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 98 points: The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Lotus Vineyard from the Napa Valley is a brilliant effort that flirts with perfection (much like the 2007). Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 24 months in 100% new French oak (225 cases...
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