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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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2021 Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay

This has a more reductive and flinty personality with sliced pears, apples, lemons and light cream. White flowers, too. Full-bodied and very agile on the palate, staying calm until the end when it kicks in and runs long. Toasty finish with acid and phenolic structure. Old Wente clone. Goes on for minutes. A wine for aging, but so good already. Drinkable, but better in two or three years.James Suckling | 98 JSThe 2021 Chardonnay Private Reserve comes all from Oakville and is a different beast, with a richer yet still vibrant style that just begs to be drunk. Orchard fruits, chalky minerality, toasted hazelnuts, and a beautiful sense of reduction all define the aromatics, and it’s medium to full-bodied, has perfect balance, integrated oak, and a great finish. It’s the real deal. Drink bottles over the coming 7-8 years.Jeb Dunnuck | 95 JDFrom the Gamble Ranch in Oakville and barrel fermented at relatively warm temperatures to build mouthfeel, the 2021 Chardonnay Private Reserve boasts a smoky, mocha-tinged note on the nose, plus hints of crème brûlée and pineapple custard. It’s medium to full-bodied, velvety and ripe, a bit open-knit texturally on the finish, but it’s authoritatively flavored and true to form. About 80% new French oak is used, but a healthy 20% of the barrels are larger puncheons (500 liters), so while oaky, it’s not unbalanced.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93 RPThe 2021 Chardonnay Private Reserve is lovely. Orchard fruit, lemon confit, hazelnut and a kiss of sweet French oak take shape. This understated, creamy Chardonnay is super-expressive in 2021.Vinous Media | 92 VMThis has a spicy, smoky litsea oil note and honeycomb overtone to the plump grilled peach, ripe melon and dried apricot flavors, which add an appealing fleshy accent, while a hint of buttery pie crust lingers. Drink now through 2030. 4,135 cases made.Wine Spectator | 92 WS

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