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, 95 points: Aromas of blackberries, walnuts and light wet earth follow through to a full to medium body, light chocolate and a long finish. Refined and polished. Classic style. Better in 2019.
jamessuckling.com, 96 points: Lots of sweet-tobacco, currant and coffee character, yet this remains refined and subtle. Mushroom undertones. Medium to full body, ultra-fine tannins and a velvety texture. Complex and fascinating. Spanish cedar all the...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 95 points: (95+) Michel Rolland's enormous experience and obvious knowledge of great viticulture and winemaking has turned out a 300-case cuvée (14.7% natural alcohol) of exceptional wine. Notes of graphite, créme de cassis...
Antonio Galloni's Vinous, 92 points: The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a gorgeous example of both the property and the vintage. Bright floral notes and vibrant red berry fruit five the Estate much of its gracious, finely-knit personality. This is an...
Antonio Galloni's Vinous, 97 points: Togni's 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is quite dark and powerful, but also very much medium in body. Graphite, smoke, savory herbs, mint, leather and a core of inky dark red and purplish fruit infuse this deep...
Wine Spectator, 91 points: A rustic, hearty style that’s not shy about extraction, density or
oak, offering a chewy mouthful of graphite- and lead pencil–shaded dark berry flavors. On the finish, this shows potential, delivering
Wine Spectator, 91 points: Pure and rich, well-centered on melted black licorice, spice, cedar
and dark berry flavors. Deep and complex, if short on finesse and
grace, ending with musclebound tannins. Drink now through
2028. — J.L.
jamessuckling.com, 94 points: Aromas of blackcurrants, blackberries, mushrooms and spices. Full and very intense with lots of fruit. Firm and silky. Plenty of tension. Layered and intense. Love it now, but this will be better in 2020.
Showing 15 of 205 wines
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Its always been a pleasure doing business with JJ Buckley. I've ordered from other online suppliers in the past but I almost exclusively order from JJ Buckley now. I feel their reviews of the wines are honest and pretty spot on. Wines seem to be stored properly and are always shipped in proper packaging.
-James M., June 2017