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.
Don't let everyone else have all the fun! Shop our most popular, best-selling wines of the past few weeks before they're gone.
jamessuckling.com, 96 points: A red with such grandeur and tradition plus gorgeous austerity and length. Full body and pinpointed center palate with pretty fruit and balance. Aromatic with sage, lavender, rosemary flower, and chives. Love it. Better...
Vinous, 94 points: A wine of pedigree and distinction, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District has turned out as well as I had hoped. Creamy and expressive, with striking depth, the 2013 possesses notable nuance in its dark, inky...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 95 points: Another majestic effort from Boisset is the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon JCB No. 10. This is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville and 10% Petit Verdot. The wine shows terrific floral notes intermixed with blackberry and...
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First time wine buyer from JJ Buckley at suggestion of family member...terrific experience!
-Charles E., March 2020