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 Spectator, 95 points: Extravagant, yet balanced and refined, with lush, crisp brioche, fresh ginger
and spice, roasted hazelnut and Asian pear flavors that fan out on the
lengthy finish. Drink now through 2020. From California.—T.F
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 94 points: Another big-time winner, and one of their larger cuvées of just over 9,000 cases is the 2012 Brut Rosé. This is a blend of 76% Pinot Noir and 24% Chardonnay, of which 33% was barrel fermented. This wine is ripe, broad...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 97 points: Reminding me of a top Hermitage, the 2012 La Sangre de Jonata checks in as a blend of 97% Syrah and 3% Viognier that's aged primarily in neutral and larger oak barrels. It's flat-out gorgeous in 2012 and gives up tons of...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 94 points: The 2012 Chardonnay Isobel (980 cases) comes from 31-year-old vines planted in the Charles Heintz Vineyard, and spent 13 months in 39% new oak. It offers classic notes of tangerine oil, apple blossoms, caramelized citrus...
Pinot Report, 94 points: Medium-deep ruby color; complex, rich wild cherry aromas
with some spice and herbal notes; deep, complex flavors of
cherry and earth with some herbal and tea notes; silky texture;
good structure and balance; long...
Wine Spectator, 93 points: Bold blueberry and smoky meat aromas lead to complex, expressive flavors of dark plum, crushed stone and licorice that linger toward big but ripe tannins. Drink now through 2027. 175 cases made.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 94 points: The top wine, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is a smaller cuvée of 243 cases. Aged 20 months in 62% new French oak, this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is dense and full-bodied with deep blackberry and cassis flavors, ripe tannin...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 95 points: The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Rubicon, which used to be a proprietary blend and had a somewhat rustic, Italian personality, has now been put under the Inglenook Vineyard designation. Where the Cabernet Sauvignon was a blend...
Wine Spectator, 93 points: There’s a lot to like here, from the initial drive of earth- and graphite-laced
blueberry, cassis and dried berry flavors to the touches
of cedary oak and crushed rock minerality. A long version, with
Wine Enthusiast, 93 points: From an organically farmed estate vineyard in Chiles Valley operated by the same family for more than 40 years, this 87% Cabernet Sauvignon-13% Merlot has soul and structure, as well a stony minerality that compels...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 94 points: 94+ I assume the 2012 Proprietary Red Vintage Reserve comes from the winery’s finest lots. It is no wimpy wine at 14.9% natural alcohol and appears to be made from Bordeaux varietals. It demonstrates that like Napa...
Wine Enthusiast, 95 points: It’s hard to pick
a favorite from this new music-inspired lineup by
Steve and Chrystal Clifton, but this slightly older
vintage wins, thanks to its dense color, depth of
mouthfeel and layers of aroma and flavor. The...
Showing 15 of 54 wines
We are having problems processing your request.
Please contact our sales office between 9 AM and 5 PM (PST) for further assistance at 1.888.859.4637.
...Sometimes I wish I could buy almost everything, because they have such a great inventory of terrific wine. The service is amazing and the wine selection is fantastic. No other wine company has had the selection of wines they offer on such a consistent basis.
-Christine K., November 2018
Please, close this tab