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.
jebdunnuck.com, 94 points: Starting with the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Les Petits Morlet, this comes from declassified lots from the La Proportion Doree cuvée and is 85% Sauvignon Blanc and 15% Semillon aged 14 months in all used barrel. It has a...
jamessuckling.com, 97 points: Sliced apples and limes on the nose with grassy and chamomile notes. But then it turns to honeysuckle, chalk and minerals. Full-bodied with papaya, sliced-pear and green-pineapple flavors. Tight and fresh at the end...
Wine Enthusiast, 90 points: With 3% Sémillon and mainly stainless-steel aged, this medium-bodied white is juicy and lengthy, likable in its immediate approachability. Pear, peach and passion fruit highlight the experience on the palate, the wine...
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...JJB is bar none the best wine shop I do business with. All my Fine Wine Specialists over the past 15 or so years were all amazing. Currently James is nothing short of awesome.
-Evangelos K., January 2019