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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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2004 silver oak alexander cabernet sauvignon California Red
As low as $175.00
2018 silver oak napa valley cabernet sauvignon California Red

The lovely ruby red colour is translucent, revealing a heady wine of blackberry, liquorice, vanillin, spicebush, and dried floral notes with savoury, toasty oak spices. This 2018 offers one of the more restrained and pretty bouquets of Silver Oak’s Napa Cabernet in my memory. Very elegant on the entry, revealing a medium-bodied red wine with lovely cranberry fruit, plums, and currants, with a real depth to those fruit qualities framed by sculpted tannins that affix themselves onto the palate before giving way and resolving. Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant with trace amounts of Petit Verdot and Malbec. Aged in 85% new American Oak from The Oak Cooperage in Higbee, Missouri, the Duncans have owned it outright since 2015. The other 15% are second-use American oak barrels. They’ve been using the same cooperage for decades. The barrels imbue the Silver Oak wines with a classic vanillin quality, a nuance they always want to retain, even as they experiment with various toasts to produce smoother tannins in the toasting process.Decanter | 95 DEC

95
DEC
As low as $149.00
2019 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley

Aged in 50% new and 50% second-use American Oak from the Duncan family’s The Oak cooperage in Higbee, Missouri. Matt Duncan joined me for my tasting, and he says the Petit Verdot in the blend, of which there is 0.4%, is co-fermented with the Cabernet Sauvignon, intended to bring focus to the Cabernet fruit. A compelling, brooding, muscular rendition of Cabernet from Alexander Valley with gorgeous boysenberry notes, black currants, and rose petals laced with vanillin notes and toasty oak. Medium to full-bodied with black currants, ripe blackberry and black cherry notes framed by velvety tannins laced with that irresistible vanillin note. Toasty oak spices lend a hint of sweetness, balanced by grippy acidity. Long and complex, revealing umami, garrigue, and crushed slatestone on the finish. It’s a terrific wine from the Alexander Valley.Decanter | 95 DEC

95
DEC
As low as $99.00

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