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, 91 points: A delicious, fruity white with aromas and flavors of sliced apples and pears. Medium to full body. Dried pear and apple flavors. Outstanding. Shows some structure, too. 97.5% sauvignon blanc with a dash of semillon and...
Wine Enthusiast, 94 points: The producer sources from a handful of exceptional sites here, including Hyde in Carneros and Farina on Sonoma Mountain, as well as its own St. Helena estate. Juicy and lengthy with power and substance, it is fresh and...
jamessuckling.com, 91 points: Sliced dried-lemon and green-apple aromas and flavors. Cooked apples, too. Full-bodied, flavorful and delicious. Opulent white. From biodynamically grown grapes. Drink now.
Wine Spectator, 93 points: Expressive and complex, featuring an explosion of marmalade, candied lemon peel, peach custard and grilled grapefruit flavors. The smooth, succulent body is highlighted by spice and floral accents, with a juicy core of...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 91 points: The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Blank Stare was 30% barrel fermented and aged for three months. The total amount of new oak in the blend if 17%. This vintage is a knock-out, giving up exuberant green guava, gooseberries and...
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