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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 andremily eaba California Red

The EABA is more Syrah-dominated and checks in as 65% Syrah, 22% Mourvèdre, 10% Grenache, and the rest Viognier that saw plenty of stems and close to two years in 50% new French oak. Its inky purple hue is followed by a sensational bouquet of bloody blue fruits, black raspberries, iron, ground pepper, baking spices, and who knows what else. Incredibly complex and nuanced (yet intense) aromatically, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a deep, layered, concentrated mouthfeel, and a finish that won’t quit. It’s certainly one of the biggest, richest wines in the lineup, yet like all of Jim’s wines, it remains light on its feet, has brilliant purity of fruit, and is as drinkable as could be.Jeb Dunnuck | 99 JDThe 2020 EABA ("end all be all"), still in barrel, is a blend of 65% Syrah, 22% Mourvèdre, 10% Grenache and 3% Viognier. Made using 70% whole clusters, it comes from several vineyards in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, including Bien Nacido, White Hawk, Larner, Slide Hill and Alta Mesa. It will mature for around 22 months in 50% new and 50% used French barriques. Opaque ruby-purple in color, the 2020 EABA has gorgeous scents of blackberry and blueberry jam, dried herbs, lavender, coffee, licorice and loamy earth. The full-bodied palate is powerful yet light on its feet, its youthfully concentrated fruits unfolding as the wine glides through the mouth. It has abundant, finely grained tannins, integrated acidity and loads of spicy and floral accents across the long finish. Tasted May 25, 2022, it will be bottled in mid-August 2022. Around 750 cases and a few magnums will be made. It will be packaged and sold as a three-bottle set ($330), and each magnum will be sold in a box set with the 2020 Andremily Grenache.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96-98 RPThe 2020 EABA is a dense, super-ripe wine that very much shows all the radiant intensity of the year. Super-ripe black cherry, plum, chocolate, new oak and lavender are dialed up to the maximum. This is a classic Andremily wine built on textural opulence and intensity. The 2020 has developed beautifully since I tased it from barrel.Vinous Media | 94 VM

99
JD
As low as $129.00
2020 cambria estate winery chardonnay katherines vineyard California White

The 2020 Chardonnay Katherine’s Vineyard is bright and wonderfully saline, with plenty of mineral and savory accents. Citrus peel, mint, white pepper, chalk and dried flowers open nicely with a bit of time. There’s terrific energy and plenty of cut. Most of this fruit is sourced from the own-rooted vines first planted in 1971.Antonio Galloni | 94 AGThe 2020 Chardonnay Katherine’s Vineyard is terrific and shockingly good given the quantities produced. Burgundian-like aromas of stone fruits, chalky minerality, honeyed flowers, and brioche all define the nose, and it’s medium-bodied, with a supple, rounded texture, integrated acidity, and a great finish.Jeb Dunnuck | 90 JDDried lime peel, seared lemon pith, white flower and a hint of grass show on the nose of this bottling. There’s an earthy, crushed rock element to the palate, where dried apple and herb flavors also arise. Wine Enthusiast | 90 WE

94
AG
As low as $16.99
2020 paul lato suerte solomon hills vineyard pinot noir California Red

The 2020 Pinot Noir Suerte Solomon Hills Vineyard comes from 20-year-old vines farmed by Chris Hammell and was matured for 17 months in 52% new French oak. It has a pale ruby color and deep scents of cranberry, sour cherries, Earl Grey tea, licorice, mushrooms and autumn leaves. The medium-bodied palate is concentrated and supple with fireworks of fresh acidity to call you back on the long, flavorful finish. 430 cases were made.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96 RPThe 2020 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills Vineyard Suerte is a fabulous example of what this Santa Maria site is all about. Dense, rich and explosive, the 2020 offers up copious dark cherry, plum, lavender, spice and a kiss of new French oak, with silky tannins and soft contours that wrap it all up.Vinous Media | 95 VMThe 2020 Pinot Noir Suerte Solomon Hills Vineyard comes from a great, tiny site outside of Santa Maria and was destemmed and spent 17 months in 52% new French oak. It has some classic Santa Maria minerality and marine-like iodine nuances as well as darker cherry and berry fruits, notes of baking spices, chocolate, and loamy earth, medium to full body, a round, concentrated mouthfeel, and a great finish. This rich, serious effort will benefit from just a year or two of bottle age and should have a decade of prime drinking.Jeb Dunnuck | 95+ JD

96
RP
As low as $84.99
2021 paul lato kokoro chardonnay California White

Coming from a cellar selection and a tiny production release, the 2021 Chardonnay Kokoro has exotic aromatics of tangerine, citrus oil, tropical flowers, and spice that give way to more racy citrus and minerality with time in the glass. Medium to full-bodied, concentrated, and flawlessly balanced, it’s another heavenly Chardonnay from Lato that readers will love. Give bottles a year and enjoy through 2031.Jeb Dunnuck | 98 JDThe 2021 Chardonnay Kokoro is especially fine in this vintage. It marries the energy of the year with some of the textural richness readers have come to expect from Paul Lato. Orchard fruit, marzipan, mint, tangerine and white flowers build effortlessly. The Kokoro, Lato’s top Chardonnay, is superb in 2021.Vinous Media | 95 VM

98
JD
As low as $89.99
2021 tensley syrah colson canyon vineyard California Red

The 2021 Syrah Colson Canyon Vineyard is a perfumed powerhouse! Opaque ruby-purple, it has a concentrated core of cassis with touches of tar, thyme, grilled meats, menthol and bitter chocolate. The full-bodied palate is ripe and concentrated with surprising freshness for its style. It has a pleasantly chalky frame and a very long finish replete with violet perfume. This hedonistic Syrah could use another 5+ years in bottle to unwind and will be long-lived in the cellar.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RPThe 2021 Syrah Colson Canyon Vineyard is one of the highlights among the 2021s I tasted from Joey Tensley. Vibrant and driving in feel, the Colson Syrah is endowed with tremendous character. Blue/purplish fruit, gravel, incense, menthol and lavender all take shape as the 2021 shows off its striking beauty. There is so much to look forward to.Vinous Media | 94-96 VMFrom a site located in the hills above Los Olivos, the 2021 Syrah Colson Canyon Vineyard gives up a dense purple hue as well as notes of jammy blueberries, black cherry liqueur, candied violets, and black pepper. This is a concentrated, medium to full-bodied, powerful Syrah that has terrific tannins as well as good acidity.Jeb Dunnuck | 93-95+ JD

97
RP
As low as $44.99

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