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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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2010 dalla valle maya California Red

The 2010 Maya is a less evolved, more backward, brooding wine with a dense opaque blue/purple color, explosive richness, and abundant notes of incense, camphor, charcoal, blackberries, blueberries and hints of violets and forest floor. Full-bodied, pure, deep, structured and powerful, this massive Maya comes across as even bigger and richer than the 2009. Forget it for 3-5 years and drink it over the following 30+ years. Drink Date 2016 - 2046 Robert Parker The Wine Advocate | 98+ RPNaoko Dalla Valle’s 2010 Maya is every bit as breathtaking as it has always been. An exotic mélange of raspberry jam, espresso, mocha and rose petal scents opens up in the glass. Alluring, powerful and totally captivating, the 2010 hits all the right notes. One of the more complete wines in this tasting, the Maya is brilliant as soon as the bottles are opened and then just keeps getting better and better as the hours go by. The 2010 vintage is full of highlights, but then there is a summit of excellence where a few wines are perched. Maya is one of them. In a word: magnificent!Antonio Galloni | 98+ AGFirm, dense and tannic, offering a potent mix of dried berry, black licorice, dried herb and savory notes, gaining tannic traction and ending with a wonderful push of flavors that bode well for the future. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2014 through 2025. 420 cases made. Wine Spectator | 93 WS

98+
RP
As low as $465.00
2012 dalla valle maya California Red

Dalla Valle was the first winery to demonstrate what heights Cabernet Franc could reach in the valley with their Maya proprietary blend, which averages 50-55% Cabernet Franc and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2012 Maya is a spectacular offering. I recently had the 1991 (made by Tony Soter) and it is still drinking exceptionally well. In fact, it could still be called an adolescent at 23 years of age. The 2012 Maya is already revealing great complexity with notes of forest floor, licorice, truffles, red and blackcurrants and a hint of graphite. The beautiful aromatics are followed by an equally majestic, full-bodied, multidimensional wine of great class and elegance. This sensational effort should drink well for 25-30 years.Robert Parker | 98 RPThe 2012 Maya is surprisingly deep and powerful in this vintage, with none of the early appeal of the estate’s other 2012s. Today, the Maya is dark and brooding, with tons of intensity to match its massive, virile personality. Readers will have to be patient, but the 2012 is a special wine that much is clear.Vinous Media | 98+ VMA gorgeous and generous wine with blackberry, cedar and flower petal character. Full body, firm and silky tannins. A beautiful red with so much finesse and style. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 95 JSOffers pure, rich blackberry, wild berry, currant and cassis flavors, all creating a harmonious mix. The texture is supple and easy before the tannins become more evident. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2028. 700 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

98+
VM
As low as $395.00
2017 dalla valle cabernet sauvignon California Red

Moving to the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, this cuvée is too often underrated and I think it’s one of the most classy, balanced, high quality Cabernets coming from the valley. Deep purple-colored with beautiful blackcurrant fruits interwoven with lots of tobacco, crushed rocks, leafy herbs, and graphite, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, ripe, present tannins, and stunning balance. It’s going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for 25 years or more.Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JDThe 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is blended of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, aged in barrel for 21 months in two-thirds new oak. It was bottled one week prior to this tasting. Deep garnet-purple colored, it leaps from the glass with bold, beautiful black fruits—blackcurrant pastilles, plum preserves and boysenberries—with hints of baker’s chocolate, yeast extract, tapenade and Indian spices plus a waft of forest floor. Full-bodied, rich and spicy in the mouth, it sports soft, plush, well-played tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long and fragrant.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 95 RPThe 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon captures all of the radiance of the year in its super-ripe fruit and racy contours. Medium in body yet extravagantly ripe, the 2017 is going to need at least a few years in bottle to shed some baby fat. A rush of dark cherry, plum, spice, lavender, licorice and menthol gives the 2017 much of its immediacy and overall appeal.Antonio Galloni | 94 AGVery pretty blueberries and chocolate with hints of spice. Medium body, creamy tannins and a savory finish. Shows poise and balance. Delicious now. Why wait on this? Drink or hold.James Suckling | 93 JSFleshy and forward at first, with delicious plum and blackberry compote flavors laced with dark licorice and roasted cedar notes. Fleshes out with some air in the glass, showing nice length, a well-buried iron note and latent grip for cellaring. Best from 2021 through 2032. 860 cases made.Wine Spectator | 92 WS

97
JD
As low as $235.00
2017 dalla valle maya California Red

The 2017 Maya is a blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33% Cabernet Franc and was bottled one week before I tasted it. Very deep purple-black in color, it opens with profound earthy notions of truffles, damp soil, crushed rocks and tar over a core of Black Forest cake, black raspberries, blueberry compote and aged meat plus touches of wilted roses and unsmoked cigars. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is solidly structured with firm, fine-grained tannins and wonderful freshness lifting the multilayered blue and black fruits with a long, perfumed finish. Stunning.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97+ RPThe tiny production 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Maya is another thrilling wine. The normal blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Cabernet Franc that was brought up in two-thirds new French oak, it offers a full-bodied, concentrated, yet sensationally elegant style as well as fab notes of crème de cassis, chocolate, graphite, and scorched earth. It’s a primordial example of this cuvée that has ripe tannins, a stacked mid-palate, and a great, great finish. Do your best to give bottles 4-6 years of bottle age.Jeb Dunnuck | 97+ JDThe 2017 Maya is not only gorgeous, it also appears to have handled the rigors of the growing season more successfully than the others. Ripe red cherry and plum fruit, blood orange, pomegranate, mint and spice all build as this racy, sumptuous wine shows off its considerable allure. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are just magic here.Antonio Galloni | 96 AGTiny production from the eastern hills of Oakville. If you love Bordeaux wines it’s such a treat to taste a blend of just Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, something that you rarely see in the Médoc. It works extremely well, with an aromatic kick of raspberry leaf and violet flowers but the key to the body is coffee, bilberry, rosemary, mulberry and cloves. Great acidity set against power and concentration. The savoury edge that makes Cabernet such a delicious food-friendly wine is here, and is extremely elegant and refined but with a punch and undertow. Good stuff, with long ageing potential. 75% new oak. Drinking Window 2022 - 2042.Decanter | 95 DECThe plum and chocolate, as well as hazelnut and dried-flower character is prevalent here. It’s full-bodied, yet very refined with lovely, polished tannins and a long, crisp finish. Balanced and focused. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 95 JSSolidly built, with ganache, plum, fig paste, smoldering tobacco and loam notes rolled together, ending with a muscular feel on the dark finish. Reveals a strong tug of terroir. Will need some time to stretch out fully. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2022 through 2035. 800 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

97+
RP
As low as $469.00
2018 dalla valle cabernet sauvignon California Red

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, which always includes a splash of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, is incredible juice and a wine readers should seek out. Showing the quality and style of the vintage beautifully, it offers a captivating bouquet of crème de cassis, unsmoked tobacco, bouquet garni, and violets, with just a touch of foresty, earthy notes in the background. Aged 22 months in barrel (with a small amount in amphora), it’s full-bodied and perfectly balanced, with integrated acidity and a great finish. I love this wine and don’t make the mistake of overlooking this while only focusing on the Maya cuvee.Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JDDeep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate comes soaring out of the glass with energetic notions of fresh blackberries, black cherries and cassis plus nuances of dark chocolate, kirsch, cardamom and tilled soil with a fragrant waft of violets. The full-bodied palate is densely packed with perfumed black fruit flavors, supported by firm, grainy tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long with loads of mineral accents.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97+ RPThe 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is a powerful, explosive wine that is going to need a number of years to be at its finest. The energy and raw intensity are so pronounced. Inky dark fruit, spice, menthol, licorice and cedar add striking aromatic nuance, but it is the wine’s phenomenal balance that stands out most. This is the first vintage that includes component wine aged in amphora. This is far from an easygoing 2018.Antonio Galloni | 97 AGThis throws a lot at you from the get-go, with sassafras, sweet bay leaf and red tea notes leading off, before the core of red and black currant paste and boysenberry reduction starts to assert itself. Licorice and fruitcake accents check in late, with all the other elements falling into line easily through the lengthy finish. Distinctive and gorgeous. Best from 2022 through 2038. 1,000 cases made.Wine Spectator | 96 WSThis has a perfumed nose of violets, blueberry pie, vanilla and crushed walnuts. It’s full-bodied with firm, powdery tannins. Powerful yet fresh, with intense layers of blue fruit, flowers and wood spices. Better from 2022.James Suckling | 95 JSA luscious, ripe but tucked-in expression of eastern Oakville Cabernet from Andy Erickson. The nose is voluptuous and chock full of ripe red and purple fruits surrounded by subtle toasted oak aromas. The palate is delectably sweet and concentrated, showing flavours of boysenberry, candied black cherries, fresh tobacco and brown sugar. A full-throttle wine but reigned in enough to still show poise and purity. Drinking Window 2026 - 2039.Decanter | 95 DEC

97+
RP
As low as $279.00
2019 dalla valle cabernet sauvignon California Red

Gorgeous blackberry and currant aromas with hints of herbs. Wonderfully varietal character. Full-bodied with tannins that frame the wine so nicely and create a long, lightly chewy finish. Fantastic wine. Available in October. Drinkable now, but give it three to four years.James Suckling | 98 JSDeep, dark and alluring nose of black fruit, rich cedar and cigar box. Well-built, beautiful and balanced, with deeply concentrated, yet fresh and ripe flavours of blackberry, cassis and fleshy plum, unspooling with lifted acidity, tobacco, wet slate, river stones, dark chocolate and an endless finish. A delicious wine that is framed by very fine and elegant tannins, almost powdery. Finishes with energy and freshness. A joy to drink. Biodynamic. Drinking Window: 2022 - 2040Decanter | 98 DECDeep garnet-purple in color, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate needs a lot of swirling and coaxing to unlock notions of blackcurrant pastilles, warm black plums and mulberries, plus hints of black olives, tilled soil, mossy tree bark and violets with emerging baker’s chocolate and star anise hints. Full-bodied, rich, concentrated and with impeccable poise, it has beautifully ripe, grainy tannins and just enough freshness, finishing epically long and earthy.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98+ RPIncluding 20% Cabernet Franc, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is a hidden gem. While the Maya gets all the attention, the classic Cabernet Sauvignon from this team is insanely good, year-in, year-out. The 2019 sports a dense purple color as well as quintessential Cabernet notes of cassis, black raspberries, flowers, toasted spices, and tobacco leaf. The purity of fruit is incredible, it’s full-bodied, has silky tannins, and flawless balance. It has 30 years of prime drinking ahead of it.Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JDThe 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is dazzling. What a wine! Ample and creamy, the 2019 possesses striking resonance to match its elegant, refined personality. A healthy dollop of Franc adds freshness to a core of dark red cherry, red plum, mocha, spice and new leather flavors. There is a level purity here that is just remarkable. This is the first vintage that includes a small portion of wine aged in amphora. I especially admire the aromatic presence and vibrancy in the 2019.Antonio Galloni | 97 AGThis is very tightly packed, with cassis, bitter plum and loganberry notes compressed along with anise, apple wood, warm humus and sweet tobacco. The earth note echoes nicely through the finish, too. More like an ’18 in profile, with a youthfully backward persona. Cellaring this will yield rewards. Best from 2024 through 2040. 1,200 cases made.Wine Spectator | 96 WS

98+
RP
As low as $299.00

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