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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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2016 Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow

The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow is made up of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Very deep purple-black colored, it sashays out of the glass with beautifully provocative black cherries, blueberry compote and warm cassis scents followed by candied violets, molten chocolate, licorice and fallen leaves plus hints of black olives and lavender. Medium to full-bodied, the palate reveals explosive energy wrapped in a silken carpet of exquisitely fine-grained tannins, finishing with amazing freshness and perfume. Gorgeous.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 100 RPGraphite, smoke, grilled herbs, lavender, licorice, black cherry and plum are some of the many notes that run through the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow. Savory and virile in feel, the 2016 boasts tremendous nuance and tons of pure character. Here, too, the new oak is a bit prominent in the early going. The oak needs time to settle down, but that should not be a problem in the long run, as the wine seems to have the underlying depth to handle it.Vinous Media | 96 VMBlack-licorice and blackberry aromas with hints of iron and hot stone. Full-bodied, dense and layered with a soft, succulent feel. Juicy and delicious aftertaste. Drink or hold. Better after 2021.James Suckling | 96 JSBroad and deep, with dark plum and blackberry preserve flavors rolling along, lined with ganache and roasted alder notes. Savory, bay leaf and tobacco hints flitter in the background, adding energy, texture and detail. Will need some time. Best from 2022 through 2040. 623 cases made.Wine Spectator | 95 WSAn old-school European style with a great nose of toffee, mocha with blackcurrants and dried herbs. Grippy structure and fresh acidity; this is a youthful wine that will age gracefully. Grown in the soils of a prehistoric river bed, these gravels drain well and the vine’s roots to penetrate deeply.Decanter | 95 DECFrom a five-acre section of the vineyard, this classic red is blended with 8% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Crushed rock, red fruit and warm baking spices combine around a grippy midpalate of leather, clove and tobacco—the power gracefully persistent. The finish is brambly and bright. Allow this youthful wine to age; enjoy best from 2026–2031. Wine Enthusiast | 94 WENew oak gives this wine an initial blush of sweetness, but as the flavors open up, the impression is completely savory. This grows in a gravel wash on the south bank of Diamond Creek, a cool site tucked into a manzanita grove. In 2016, the vines were closing in on 50 years, and the wine they offered evokes roses, soil and manzanita bark more than any direct fruit. There’s a black olive tone to preface what fruit will emerge with bottle age; as for now, the wine feels youthful and restrained.Wine & Spirits Magazine | 92 W&S

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