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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 rhys chardonnay horseshoe vineyard California White

The 2019 Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard is laced with the essence of crushed rocks, white pepper, orchard fruit, white flowers, chalk and mint. It is a bit less forthcoming than the Alpine Chardonnay. Saline notes build into the palate staining finish. This classically austere young Chardonnay just needs time in bottle. Tasted next to the Alpine, the Horseshoe has more mid-palate weight and feeling of phenolic intensity. The differences between the two are remarkable considering the sites are just 400 yards apart. The Horseshoe is planted on Monterey shale, while the soils at Alpine are Purisima, a formation that is about 8 million years younger. Such is the complexity of the Santa Cruz Mountains.Antonio Galloni | 96 AGRipe Meyer lemons, crushed stone, white flower, and exotic spice notes all emerge from the 2019 Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard. Rich and medium-bodied, it has a beautiful mid-palate, integrated acidity, and a great finish. It shows the slightly more rounded, supple style of the vintage, yet I love its density and length. Give it a year or two and enjoy over the following decade.Jeb Dunnuck | 95 JD(Chardonnay “Horseshoe Vineyard”- Rhys Vineyards (Santa Cruz Mountains)) The 2019 Horseshoe Vineyard chardonnay from Rhys is one of the low octane whites from the winery in this vintage, as it comes in at a cool 12.3 percent. However, the wine is very expressive on the nose, wafting from the glass in a refined blend of apple, pear, fruit blossoms, a beautiful base of soil tones, a touch of hazelnut and vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is vibrant, full-bodied and tightly-knit, with lovely intensity of flavor and transparency, a fine girdle of acidity and a long, nascently complex and promising finish. This will need a few years to open up, but should prove to be a long-lived and lovely middleweight once it is ready to drink. (Drink between 2024-2035)John Gilman | 93 JG

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