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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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2011 calera de villiers vineyard mt harlan pinot noir California Red

Bright red cherries, cranberry, spices, mint, hard candy and anise all jump from the glass in the 2011 Pinot Noir de Villiers Vineyard. Hints of crushed flowers and tobacco follow, adding lift, inner perfume and a sense of sweetness. The de Villiers is the most open and radiant of these 2011s today, partly because it is the only single-vineyard Pinot in the range made from fully destemmed fruit.Antonio Galloni | 90+ AGTight, with a gritty, earthy edge to the firm strawberry, dark berry, violet, spice and cedar notes, gaining depth and ending with a persistent finish. Should gain with age.Wine Spectator | 90 WS

93
JD
As low as $79.99
2013 calera de villiers vineyard mt harlan pinot noir California Red

The 2013 Pinot Noir de Villiers Vineyard is intense, pure and brilliant. Dark red cherry, blood orange, lavender, mint, star anise and wild flowers give the de Villiers an exotic edge in this vintage. Plush and deep on the palate, the 2013 is shaping up to be a jewel of a wine. Sweet floral and red-fleshed fruits add freshness on the finish. Today, the De Villiers is sublime, but it also needs time to fully come together.Antonio Galloni | 95 AGThe 2013 Pinot Noir de Villiers is gorgeous. Coming from an east-facing parcel of vines planted in 1997 and aged 19 months in 30% new French oak, it has a terrific core of black cherries, flowers, menthol, toasted spice and licorice that opens up beautifully with time in the glass. Medium to full-bodied, layered, supple and sexy, yet with plenty of elegance, ripe tannin and a big mid-palate, it can be drunk today with plenty of pleasure or cellared for a decade.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94 RPRich earthy tones of iron and sagebrush meet with a touch of barnyard, roasted meats, dark cranberry fruit and a touch of sarsaparilla on the nose of this Josh Jensen bottling. More iron, wet clay, turned loam and slate minerality show on the palate, where black pepper, cooked black cherries, pomegranate and cranberry round out the still quite tannic sip.Wine Enthusiast | 92 WEBuilds richness, depth and intensity, with cherry, blackberry and plum notes amid chalky accents. Flexes some tannic muscle on the finish, where the flavors gain depth and persistence. Drink now through 2023. 993 cases made.Wine Spectator | 91 WS(Calera Wine Company Pinot Noir - de Villiers Vineyard Red) A spicy and relatively deeply pitched nose is composed primarily of plum and dark currant aromas. There is excellent richness, size and weight to the delicious, velvety and caressing medium-bodied flavors that possess excellent dry extract that serves to buffer the moderately firm tannic spine on the dusty, sappy and somewhat austere finale. This reasonably austere effort is really quite serious and is clearly going to need plenty of time in bottle to soften the supporting structure. (Drink starting 2021)Burghound | 91 BH

95
VM
As low as $99.00
2014 calera ryan vineyard mt. harlan pinot noir California Red

The 2014 Pinot Noir Ryan Vineyard is a powerful, bombastic wine with huge fruit and equally imposing tannins that demand patience. Waves of dark, deeply sketched fruit hit the palate in a virile Pinot Noir that is going to need at least several years to truly come into its own. By no means a shy wine, the Ryan also has tremendous potential. In 2014, the Ryan was done with 70% whole clusters, which is a bit lower than normal.Antonio Galloni | 95+ AGThe 2014 Pinot Noir Ryan Vineyard offers a darker, Côte de Nuits style in its black cherry, mulberry, sassafras, spring flowers and violet aromatics. These give way to a rich, concentrated, spicy Pinot Noir that has beautiful mid-palate depth (as do all the 2015s), ripe tannin and focused, pure, impeccably balanced style.Jeb Dunnuck | 94 JDDark in color, this wine packs deep blackberry and boysenberry aromas together with violet, allspice and sandalwood. The palate is redolent of licorice and nutmeg, wrapped in an unrelenting texture that lets the black plum and lilac flavors just peek out. Time will allow this to blossom. Drink 2019–2034.Wine Enthusiast | 94 WESaturated ruby-black in hue, the 2014 Pinot Noir Ryan Vineyard reveals a rich bouquet of plum preserve, cassis and asphalt, followed by an assertively firm palate that’s carrying a significant payload of stem tannin, but which also possesses a deep core of dark, crunchy fruit and concentration. If everything rounds out with time, this will be a magical wine, as its raw materials are impressive, but for now, it’s very hard to read. This was harvested between September 4-10—early by the standards of this, Calera’s highest-altitude vineyard—and cropped at a tiny yield of 0.81 tons per acre.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93 RP

95
VM
As low as $99.00
2018 calera ryan vineyard mt. harlan pinot noir California Red

The 2018 Pinot Noir Ryan Vineyard is quite deep and heady in this vintage. Red fruit, iron, white pepper and savory herbs give the Ryan its distinctly incisive, feral personality. Hints of blood orange, raspberry and spice add an exotic flair. There is plenty of character here, that is for sure.Vinous Media | 94 VMComing from vines that provided less than one ton per acre, this concentrated bottling begins with aromas of blackberry, loamy soil and a hint of violet. The palate is wrapped in chalky tannins yet remains bright with black-raspberry and elderflower flavors. Wine Enthusiast | 94 WECalera’s highest elevation vineyard on Mt. Harlan, Ryan produced a powerful wine in 2018—rich, flavorful, broad in structure—all of it delivered with a compact texture that’s a marvel of control. It leads with scents of chocolate mint, black plum and beeswax, glossy, vinous and firm, the dark fruit flavors brushing up against sage-scented mountain scrub. A big wine; all of its weight is in the right place for skirt steak.Wine & Spirits Magazine | 93 W&SRipe and well-focused, offering gently mulled loganberry and black cherry fruit, with steeped black tea, incense and savory details. This is carried by a fine chalky spine through a lengthy finish. Solidly built and one for the cellar. Best from 2023 through 2033. 752 cases made.Wine Spectator | 92 WS

94
JD
As low as $89.99
2019 calera ryan vineyard mt. harlan pinot noir California Red

The 2019 Pinot Noir Ryan Vineyard is one of the more aromatic wines in this range. It is also incredibly tight at this stage. Crushed rocks, dried flowers, mint, earthiness white pepper and sweet red cherry are some of the many notes that grace this decidedly sinewy, taut Pinot. More exotic spice, blood orange and dried herb notes emerge over time. The 2019 needs a ton of air, as such it is an easy wine to underestimate.Vinous Media | 94 VMPlum, dried strawberry and rose stem aromas. Full-bodied, layered and savory with fine tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Juicy and bright. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 94 JSShowing lighter in the glass, this bottling from 1988 vines offers dark mulberry fruit on the complex nose alongside turned earth, juniper and toasty cappuccino notes. The gamy elements are well integrated on the palate, where coffee bean, roasted plum and bay leaf extend into a caramel-kissed finish.Wine Enthusiast | 94 WERedolent of blood and cloves, brown spices and sanguine tinges, this wine is fascinating if a bit unformed. The flavors are concentrated and the spice runs deep, surrounding its core, so, if you don’t cellar this, consider decanting it an hour before pouring with a dish with melded flavors, like lamb tagine. Wine & Spirits Magazine | 93 W&SWell-proportioned, with a juicy core of black cherry and mulberry fruit flanked by judicious toast. Sleek acidity drives the finish, where red tea and spice accents fill in. Built for cellaring. Drink now through 2030. 1,936 cases made.Wine Spectator | 91 WS

94
VM
As low as $89.99

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