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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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2020 grgich hills estate chardonnay California White

Mike Grgich, who turned 100 in April 2023, emigrated from Croatia to California in 1958 and worked his way up as a winemaker until, in 1973, he produced the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that triumphed in the 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting. His own winery, then Grgich Hills Cellar, was founded as a partnership in 1977. Grown near San Pablo Bay, the estate Chardonnay is fermented and aged in barrels and foudres, 40% of which are new French oak. Ronan Sayburn MS: Gunflint reductive nose with green cardamom, cucumber skin, oyster shell and seaweed. Smoky subtle oak. Lean, tight and mineral. Eugenio Egorov: Hints of citrus and caramel with a touch of vanilla on the nose. Creamy and vibrant with beautiful citrus and balanced acidity. Ben Gubbins: Struck match, toast and lime aromas. The palate is firm and citrussy, holding tight through a citrus and pineapple finish.Decanter | 95 DECAromas of dried orange peel, lemon grass and hay. Medium-bodied with lovely complexity. Herbs and dried citrus meld together, with a hint of white tea adding intrigue. Well composed. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 93 JSA non-malolactic wine—made in the spirit of the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that impressed at the Paris tasting in 1976—Grgich’s 2020 Estate Grown Chardonnay features gentle toasty notes, a hint of roasted hazelnut, plus bright pineapple and citrus fruit. It’s medium-bodied, zesty and refreshing, with a long, clean finish.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 92 RPThis fruity, fresh and well-balanced wine offers an appetizing mixture of lemony crispness along with baked apple richness. A relatively light body and smooth texture bring out more ripeness and butter on the palate and finish. Wine Enthusiast | 92 WETasting note not provided | 92 W&S

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