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.
jamessuckling.com, 93 points: This is a fantastic example of the super 2013 vintage in Napa. Full body, currants, graphite, spice, and light chocolate. The length and balance to this is superb. Don't miss it. Drink or hold.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 92 points: The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford, a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec, is a beauty. It's also realistically priced by Napa standards. The wine reveals toasty oak, blackberry and cassis...
jamessuckling.com, 97 points: Amazing aromas of blueberry, blackberry, mineral and bark. Complex nose. Full body plus super integrated tannins with superb balance and depth. Coffee and chocolate too. Very long and mind-bending. A tribute to the...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 96 points: The 2014 Chardonnay Four Hearts Vineyard is a larger cuvée of 1,285 cases that comes from relatively old vines for Northern California (planted in 1975). The wine is super-opulent, offering terrific honeysuckle, orange...
Antonio Galloni's Vinous, 98 points: A deep, layered wine, Dalla Valle's 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon possesses fabulous richness and texture to match its rich contours. Silky tannins shape the succulent finish in a Cabernet Sauvignon that captures the very best...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 96 points: The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve from the estate in Spring Mountain Vineyards is the thirty-sixth vintage for the Robert Keenan Winery. This wine has 7% Cabernet Franc added into the blend and 700 cases were produced...
Wine Enthusiast, 92 points: Josh Jensen’s appellation blend is arguably
the best American white wine for the price.
This vintage offers squeezed tangerine, fleur de sel,
lily, apple blossom, apple fritters and a touch of
tropicality on the nose...
jamessuckling.com, 93 points: A fruity red with soft tannins and juicy blackberry, hints of chocolate and vanilla character. Full and round, lots of fruit and a fresh finish. Still prefer 2011 but this is outstanding. Drink or hold.
Showing 15 of 145 wines
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