California Wines

California Wines

California Wines

With a history of wine production that dates back to the 18th century, California currently sits as one of the world’s most prolific and reputable wine regions. With an area as vast as California, you can expect a colorful collage of terroir profiles, a series of microclimates, and micro-environments that give the wine a unique, memorable appeal. The region’s produce is far from homogenized in that sense, and it would take you countless hours to sample all of it.

While the region boasts scars from the Prohibition era, it went through what can only be described as a viticultural Renaissance sometime after the 1960s. At that point, California went from a port-style, sweet wine region to a versatile and compelling competitor on the world market. Today, no matter which way your taste in wine leans, you can find a new favorite producer among California’s most talented.

Notable sub-regions include legendary names like Napa Valley and Sonoma County, places that any wine lover worth their salt would die to visit. California’s quintessential warm climate allows for incredibly ripe fruit expressions, a style that provides a stark contrast to Old World-inspired, earthy classics. Even where inspiration was clearly taken from staple French appellations, Californian winemakers put their own unique spin on the wine, making it feel like a unique, standalone piece, rather than a derivative.

A New World region rises to join its viticultural forebears. Its meteoric rise to fame has been nothing short of stunning, and today California can compete with the world’s most prominent wine regions.

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  1. 1980 Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Martha's Vineyard
    1980 Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Martha's Vineyard
    90
    DEC
    1980 was a challenging vintage, and Heitz's Martha's Vineyard - an attractive middle-weight - is drinking at the apogee of its maturity. Red and black fruits, cocoa powder, cigar a..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $419.00
  2. 1985 Dunn Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
    1985 Dunn Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
    94
    WS
    Intense and concentrated, packed with ripe cassis, cherry and currant flavors that are rich and elegant. The acidity and tannins are crisp and juicy, offering great potential for t..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $299.00
  3. 1986 dominus California Red
    1986 Dominus
    93
    RP
    I did not pick this out as Dominus in the blind tasting, largely because it came across as such a young, rich, blockbuster wine. One of the richest, densest, most concentrated offe..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $359.00
  4. 1986 joseph phelps insignia California Red
    1986 Joseph Phelps Insignia
    94
    RP
    This surprisingly rich, dark garnet-colored Insignia displays notes of cedarwood, tobacco leaf, black currants, graphite and damp earth. Medium to full-bodied with remarkable densi..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $359.00
  5. 1987 heitz cabernet sauvignon marthas vineyard California Red
    1987 Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Martha's Vineyard
    96
    JG
    (Cabernet Sauvignon “Martha’s Vineyard”- Heitz Wine Cellars) The 1987 Martha’s Vineyard hails back to the time when the labels stated 13.5 percent alcohol, ..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $529.00
  6. 1987 silverado napa cabernet sauvignon California Red
    1987 Silverado Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
    92
    WS
    Smooth, ripe and harmonious, with layers of black cherry, plum, currant and anise, finishing with a smooth texture and a long, lingering aftertaste.--1987 California Cabernet horiz..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $239.00
  7. 1988 silverado napa cabernet sauvignon California Red
    1988 Silverado Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
    ..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $239.00
  8. 1989 dominus California Red
    1989 Dominus
    92
    RP
    The 1989 is undoubtedly the Cabernet Sauvignon of the vintage. The color is a dark ruby/purple and the nose offers up sweet, fragrant scents of black fruits, cedar, herbs, and spic..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $395.00
  9. 1990 mondavi reserve cabernet sauvignon California Red
    1990 Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
    94
    RP
    This wine is just beginning to drink spectacularly well. The rustic, big, thick 1990 is Californian in its orientation. It is loaded with flavor, but the tannin is coarser when com..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    3L
    As low as $1,335.00
  10. 1991 joseph phelps insignia California Red
    1991 Joseph Phelps Insignia
    100
    RP
    An extraordinary dense plum/purple color is followed by a seductive as well as explosive bouquet of white chocolate, creme de cassis, spring flowers, licorice and a touch of graphi..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $669.00
  11. 1992 diamond creek volcanic hill California Red
    1992 Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill
    ..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $245.00
  12. 1992 stags leap cabernet sauvignon cask 23 California Red
    1992 Stag's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon Cask 23
    96
    RP
    All of the other current and up-coming releases are outstanding. The 1992 Cask 23 (as of November 16, there were still magnums and 750 ml. formats available at the winery) boasts a..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $275.00
  13. 1994 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon
    1994 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon
    99
    RP
    1994 produced 4,863 cases from a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Cabernet Franc. This is one of the great vintages of the 90s, and Spottswoode hit the bull’s-eye with ..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $359.00
  14. 1995 araujo eisele cabernet sauvignon California Red
    1995 Araujo Eisele Cabernet Sauvignon
    98
    RP
    I believe the 1995 is the finest produced under the Araujo regime. It is close to perfection. The wine combines extraordinary power and richness with remarkable complexity and fine..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $429.00
  15. 1996 diamond creek lake vineyard cabernet sauvignon California Red
    1996 Diamond Creek Lake Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
    ..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $1,799.00
  16. 1996 Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Martha's Vineyard
    1996 Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Martha's Vineyard
    ..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $349.00
  17. 1996 pahlmeyer merlot California Red
    1996 Pahlmeyer Merlot
    97
    RP
    The 1996 Merlot (3,000 cases) is a worthy rival. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, this blend of 93% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc tips the scales at a heady 14.6% alcohol. Could it b..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $249.00
  18. 1996 shafer cabernet sauvignon hillside select California Red
    1996 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select
    93
    RP
    A drought year produced the 1996 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select, which is slightly more compact than great vintages, but nevertheless impressive. It offers further evide..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $419.00
  19. 1997 araujo eisele cabernet sauvignon California Red
    1997 Araujo Eisele Cabernet Sauvignon
    92+
    VM
    Full ruby-red. Expressive nose combines black raspberry, currant, black cherry, chocolate, tobacco and sandalwood. Lush and sweet but fresh, with a firm edge of acidity giving shap..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $649.00
  20. 1997 pahlmeyer proprietary red California Red
    1997 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red
    98
    RP
    The finest proprietary red produced by Pahlmeyer to date is their 1997 (a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, and the rest Petit-Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec). Produ..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $589.00
  21. 1997 philip togni cabernet sauvignon California Red
    1997 Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon
    98
    RP
    The 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon has to be one of the great buys left for profound Napa Cabernet. He’s done the aging for you, and of course the wine is still an adolescent in ter..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $845.00
  22. 1999 pahlmeyer merlot California Red
    1999 Pahlmeyer Merlot
    94
    WS
    A mouthful of wine that packs in lots of rich, deep, plush and concentrated flavors, with tiers of currant, blackberry, raspberry and wild berry fruit. Well-integrated tannins smoo..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $175.00
  23. 2001 dominus California Red
    2001 Dominus
    98
    RP
    A brilliant showing for Christian Moueix’s well-known Napanook Vineyard, the 2001 Dominus is a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Ver..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $435.00
  24. 2001 joseph phelps insignia California Red
    2001 Joseph Phelps Insignia
    98+
    RP
    Still a young wine at age 12, the 2001 Insignia exhibits a dense purple color along with a sweet bouquet of camphor, blackberries, cassis, incense and spring flowers. Full-bodied, ..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $319.00
  25. 2002 carter cabernet sauvignon beckstoffer vyd California Red
    2002 Carter Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Vyd
    100
    RP
    A perfect wine, the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard comes from further north in the Oakville Corridor on the valley floor. One of the youngest wines in this t..." Learn More
    Formats Available:
    As low as $675.00
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