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California Wines

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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2019 chanin pinot noir bien nacido vineyard California Red

The 2019 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard offers a more exotic, iodine, marine-like style as well as beautiful ripe cherry and redcurrant fruits to go with plenty of briny, mineral, and chalky nuances. This is a wine for those who prize minerality over fruit, and it’s medium-bodied, with a focused, pure texture, ripe tannins, and outstanding length. I think it will show even better in a few years and keep for a good decade.Jeb Dunnuck | 94+ JDA light shade in the glass, this single-vineyard expression offers snappy aromas of currant alongside earthy hints of dusty rocks, dried herbs and cracked pepper. The structure is taut on the palate, where cranberry and green-peppercorn flavors are fresh and invigorating.Wine Enthusiast | 94 WEThe 2019 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard opens with beguiling aromatics. Spicebox, blood orange, mint, orange peel and a dollop of whole cluster savoriness add nuance. Gracious and medium in body, the 2019 is all class. Interestingly, the Bien Nacido Pinot is quite a bit more reticent than the Chardonnay.Antonio Galloni | 93 AG

As low as $59.99
2019 paul lato il padrino bien nacido vineyard syrah California Red

The 2019 Syrah Il Padrino Bien Nacido Vineyard comes from further north, in Santa Maria, and it was mostly destemmed as well and spent 19 months in close to two-thirds new French oak. More Jamet-like notes of ripe blackberries, smoked game, ground pepper, and spring flowers define the bouquet, and it’s full-bodied, with a perfectly balanced, multi-dimensional texture, incredible tannins, and a great, great finish. This is another brilliant, magical Syrah from Lato that flirts with perfection.Jeb Dunnuck | 98 JDThe 2019 Syrah Il Padrino Bien Nacido Vineyard is stunning with its quiet intensity, elegance and detail: blueberry pie, lilac and violet, prosciutto and mint chocolate define the nose. The medium-bodied palate is light on its feet, velvety in texture and seamlessly fresh, although it takes significant time in the glass to really unfold. Wow! It deserves 3-5 years to unwind in bottle and will be long-lived in the cellar. Drink Date 2024 - 2034 Robert Parker The Wine Advocate | 98 RPThe 2019 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard Il Padrino is silky, perfumed and gracious right out of the gate. This is an especially airy Syrah from Bien Nacido. The tannins are so harmonious, they are barely perceptible. A touch of Viognier in the blend adds lift to varietal dark and savory flavors. The Bien Nacido Syrah is terrific.Antonio Galloni | 95 AG

As low as $95.00
2020 cambria estate winery chardonnay katherines vineyard California White

The 2020 Chardonnay Katherine’s Vineyard is bright and wonderfully saline, with plenty of mineral and savory accents. Citrus peel, mint, white pepper, chalk and dried flowers open nicely with a bit of time. There’s terrific energy and plenty of cut. Most of this fruit is sourced from the own-rooted vines first planted in 1971.Antonio Galloni | 94 AGThe 2020 Chardonnay Katherine’s Vineyard is terrific and shockingly good given the quantities produced. Burgundian-like aromas of stone fruits, chalky minerality, honeyed flowers, and brioche all define the nose, and it’s medium-bodied, with a supple, rounded texture, integrated acidity, and a great finish.Jeb Dunnuck | 90 JDDried lime peel, seared lemon pith, white flower and a hint of grass show on the nose of this bottling. There’s an earthy, crushed rock element to the palate, where dried apple and herb flavors also arise. Wine Enthusiast | 90 WE

As low as $16.99
2020 paul lato il padrino syrah bien nacido vineyard California Red

The 2020 Syrah Il Padrino Bien Nacido Vineyard also saw a touch of stems (5%) and was aged 19 months in two-thirds new French oak. Coming from a cooler site, it has a deep ruby/plum color as well as a great nose of ripe blackberry and mulberry fruits, notes of charred meat, iron, and baking spices, full-bodied richness, ripe and integrated tannins, and a great, great finish. Out of the two Syrahs, this beauty is a touch more balanced and elegant, and also has slightly more mid-palate density. Regardless, both are brilliant, singular wines that readers will love.Jeb Dunnuck | 98 JDThe 2020 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard Il Padrino is a brute. Most of the wines in this range are quite racy, but the Padrino is simply impenetrable as this stage. Blue/purplish fruit, lavender, mocha, gravel, dried herbs and menthol are some of the many notes that develop. There is some whole cluster influence, which adds complexity.Antonio Galloni | 96 AG

As low as $95.00
2020 paul lato suerte solomon hills vineyard pinot noir California Red

The 2020 Pinot Noir Suerte Solomon Hills Vineyard comes from 20-year-old vines farmed by Chris Hammell and was matured for 17 months in 52% new French oak. It has a pale ruby color and deep scents of cranberry, sour cherries, Earl Grey tea, licorice, mushrooms and autumn leaves. The medium-bodied palate is concentrated and supple with fireworks of fresh acidity to call you back on the long, flavorful finish. 430 cases were made.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96 RPThe 2020 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills Vineyard Suerte is a fabulous example of what this Santa Maria site is all about. Dense, rich and explosive, the 2020 offers up copious dark cherry, plum, lavender, spice and a kiss of new French oak, with silky tannins and soft contours that wrap it all up.Vinous Media | 95 VMThe 2020 Pinot Noir Suerte Solomon Hills Vineyard comes from a great, tiny site outside of Santa Maria and was destemmed and spent 17 months in 52% new French oak. It has some classic Santa Maria minerality and marine-like iodine nuances as well as darker cherry and berry fruits, notes of baking spices, chocolate, and loamy earth, medium to full body, a round, concentrated mouthfeel, and a great finish. This rich, serious effort will benefit from just a year or two of bottle age and should have a decade of prime drinking.Jeb Dunnuck | 95+ JD

As low as $84.99

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