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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 Alban Vineyards Syrah Alban Estate Reva

Moving to the Syrahs, the 2019 Syrah Reva reveals a much cooler climate-like style in its blackberry, graphite, pepper, and bouquet garni-like nuances, and it picks up an almost Cornas-like game and white pepper character with time in the glass. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, it has a pure, layered, elegant mouthfeel, ripe yet polished tannins, and a great finish. It reminds me slightly of the 2018, although with slightly less concentration. It will evolve for 20-25 years.Jeb Dunnuck | 98 JDI tasted the 2019 Syrah Reva on July 8, shortly after its bottling in June. The 2019 is particularly elegant, with notable detail and vibrancy. "I’ve been more curious about the reaction of consumers to the 2019 Reva than I have in a long time," winemaker John Alban explains. "Will they like it? The Reva is very different in 2019." It’s a touch aromatically coiled from its recent bottling, taking plenty of time and air to unfold scents of blackcurrants, peppermint patty, charcuterie, coffee beans and brown sugar. The full-bodied palate has a strong spine of refreshing acidity and plush, velvety tannins to balance its depth of flavor, and it offers a beautiful flourish of spice and floral tones that fan across the long finish. It’s less ripe and hedonistic than in some vintages yet just as enjoyable! This will be released in the fall of 2023.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96+ RP

As low as $119.00
2019 colgin ix syrah California Red

Crushed stone, berry and lead pencil. Flintlock and iodine, too. Full-bodied, very tight and focused with incredible depth and intensity. Sculpted and intense. Incredible. Silky and tight tannins. Great finish. Reminds me of the 1978 La Chapelle. This needs three or four years to come together.James Suckling | 100 JSLastly, Colgin only makes a tiny amount of Syrah, but it’s consistently one of the greatest expressions of the variety in California, as well as the world. Their 2019 Syrah delivers the goods and brings a Côte Rôtie-like opulence and elegance as well as full-bodied aromas and flavors of blueberries, violets, smoke game, bouquet garni, and spring flowers. Pure, seamless, and perfectly balanced, you can safely put this up with anything out there. Enjoy bottles over the coming 15 years.Jeb Dunnuck | 98 JDSporting a deep garnet-purple color, the 2019 IX Syrah Estate hops up and down with its showy, flamboyant scents of chocolate-covered cherries, mulberries and preserved plums, before bursting into a gorgeous perfume of bouquet garni, candied violets, tar and roses, followed by unsmoked cigars with a waft of Sichuan pepper. The generous, full-bodied palate offers beautifully rounded, pebble-like tannins with invigorating freshness and so many fragrant layers that linger with edifying persistence. An absolute diva of a wine!Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98+ RPThe 2019 Syrah IX Estate is deep, plush and super-expressive. The Colgin Syrah is so unique, as it is much a wine of place as it is a varietal Syrah. Huge fruit and captivating aromatics make a strong opening statement. All the elements simply fall into place. In 2019, the Syrah is simply exceptional. All that said, readers need to cellar the 2019 for at least a few years, as today the fruit remains very front and center, and true Syrah notes have not yet started to emerge.Antonio Galloni | 97 AGPotent and polished, with deeply structured blueberry, smoked meat, licorice and fruitcake spice flavors that gather richness and tension toward broad-shouldered tannins. To be released November 2022. Drink now through 2032. 400 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

As low as $369.00
2019 levo 2 2 tango syrah California Red

In the same ballpark quality-wise, the 2019 Syrah 2 2 Tango (89% Syrah and 11% Graciano) is riper and more exotic, with lots of violets, bay leaf, game, and peppery notes as well as a core of dark fruits. Full-bodied, balanced, and just impeccably put together, it’s a seriously good Syrah to enjoy over the coming 7-8 years.Jeb Dunnuck | 94 JDThe 2019 Syrah 2 2 Tango is a gorgeous, sumptuous wine that marries fruit from top sources in Ballard Canyon and Willow Creek. Juicy plum, black cherry, plum, chocolate, licorice and spice are all kicked up. Readers will find an exuberant, open-knit wine that is ready to deliver the goods.Antonio Galloni | 93 AG

As low as $49.95
2019 paul lato il padrino bien nacido vineyard syrah California Red

The 2019 Syrah Il Padrino Bien Nacido Vineyard comes from further north, in Santa Maria, and it was mostly destemmed as well and spent 19 months in close to two-thirds new French oak. More Jamet-like notes of ripe blackberries, smoked game, ground pepper, and spring flowers define the bouquet, and it’s full-bodied, with a perfectly balanced, multi-dimensional texture, incredible tannins, and a great, great finish. This is another brilliant, magical Syrah from Lato that flirts with perfection.Jeb Dunnuck | 98 JDThe 2019 Syrah Il Padrino Bien Nacido Vineyard is stunning with its quiet intensity, elegance and detail: blueberry pie, lilac and violet, prosciutto and mint chocolate define the nose. The medium-bodied palate is light on its feet, velvety in texture and seamlessly fresh, although it takes significant time in the glass to really unfold. Wow! It deserves 3-5 years to unwind in bottle and will be long-lived in the cellar. Drink Date 2024 - 2034 Robert Parker The Wine Advocate | 98 RPThe 2019 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard Il Padrino is silky, perfumed and gracious right out of the gate. This is an especially airy Syrah from Bien Nacido. The tannins are so harmonious, they are barely perceptible. A touch of Viognier in the blend adds lift to varietal dark and savory flavors. The Bien Nacido Syrah is terrific.Antonio Galloni | 95 AG

As low as $95.00
2020 andremily syrah #9 California Red

A blend of 89% Syrah, 9% Mourvèdre, and 2% Viognier, the 2020 No 9 was 50% destemmed and will see 22 months in 65% new French oak. Full-bodied and powerful, with lots of chocolaty black fruits, ground pepper, and assorted meatiness, it hits the palate with a ripe, lush texture, solid tannins, and a great finish.Jeb Dunnuck | 97-99 JDThe 2020 No. 9, still in barrel, is a blend of 89% Syrah, 9% Mourvèdre and 2% Viognier, made with 50% whole clusters. Fruit comes from several vineyards throughout the Central Coast including Slide Hill, White Hawk, Larner, Harrison-Clarke, Kimsey and Alta Mesa. It will mature for 22 months in 65% new and 35% used French barriques. Opaque ruby-purple in color, it features aromas of black olives, ground coffee, turned earth and forest floor, before unfolding to pure blueberry liqueur, cassis, licorice and violet—what alluring aromas! Full-bodied, the palate is grainy and seamless, with concentrated, floral fruits and a very long, nuanced finish. Around 850 cases and a few magnums of this powerful Syrah will be made. It will be sold as part of a three-bottle set ($330), while magnums will be sold as a box set with the 2020 Andremily Mourvèdre.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96-98 RPThe 2020 Andremily No. 9 is a dense, full-throttle wine. Inky, black fruit, blackberry jam, espresso, mocha, licorice and spice blast across the palate. There’s not a ton of subtlety here. It will be interesting to see if this heady, potent Syrah develops over the next year.Vinous Media | 93-95 VM

As low as $129.00
2020 paul lato il padrino syrah bien nacido vineyard California Red

The 2020 Syrah Il Padrino Bien Nacido Vineyard also saw a touch of stems (5%) and was aged 19 months in two-thirds new French oak. Coming from a cooler site, it has a deep ruby/plum color as well as a great nose of ripe blackberry and mulberry fruits, notes of charred meat, iron, and baking spices, full-bodied richness, ripe and integrated tannins, and a great, great finish. Out of the two Syrahs, this beauty is a touch more balanced and elegant, and also has slightly more mid-palate density. Regardless, both are brilliant, singular wines that readers will love.Jeb Dunnuck | 98 JDThe 2020 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard Il Padrino is a brute. Most of the wines in this range are quite racy, but the Padrino is simply impenetrable as this stage. Blue/purplish fruit, lavender, mocha, gravel, dried herbs and menthol are some of the many notes that develop. There is some whole cluster influence, which adds complexity.Antonio Galloni | 96 AG

As low as $95.00
2021 Andremily Syrah No. 10

The 2021 Andremily No. 10, tasted as a barrel sample, is a blend of 93% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 2% Viognier, fermented using 50% whole clusters and to be aged for around 22 months in French oak barriques, 65% new. The color is a deep purple black. Baked plums, boysenberry preserves, and fruitcake leap from the glass, followed by suggestions of garrigue, peppered salami, and cracked black pepper with a hint of aniseed. Full, rich, firm, and grainy, the palate is lively, muscular, long and peppery. Around 100 cases and a few magnums will be bottled in August 2023.The Wine Independent | 96-98 TWIThe 2021 No. 10 is a blend of 93% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre and 2% Viognier. Grapes come from several vineyards, including Andremily’s new Slide Hill estate in Edna Valley, White Hawk, Larner, Harrison-Clarke, Kimsey and Alta Mesa Vineyards in Santa Barbara County. It was vinified with 50% whole clusters and matured for around 22 months in 65% new French barriques. Bottled August 12 and tasted October 25, it boasts a supermassive black hole of dark, perfumed fruit at the core. With time in the glass, it reveals pure accents of mint chocolate, vanilla bean, olives, lilac, tar and botanical nuances. The palate is incredibly concentrated, its graphite-laced fruit waiting to explode. All that depth of fruit is balanced by fireworks of fresh acidity and velvety tannins, and it has a highly latent finish. 900 cases were made, which will be sold as part of a three-bottle box set for $330. A few magnums were also made, which will be sold as part of a two-bottle set with the 2021 Mourvèdre.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97+ RPLastly, the Syrah-dominated 2021 No 10 reveals a dense purple hue as well as a wild bouquet of blueberries, wild strawberries, ground pepper, game, iron, and assorted floral, meaty nuances. Stunningly complex even at this young age, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a pure, layered, seamless mouthfeel, ample tannins and underlying structure, and a finish that won’t quit. It will clearly be a match for the 2020, and this puppy is going to flirt with perfection at maturity.Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JDThe 2021 Andremily No. 10 is one of the finest wines I have tasted at Andremily. Vibrant, focused and explosive, the 2021 possesses tremendous energy from start to finish. Dark red cherry, red plum, rose petal, cinnamon and new leather are some of the many notes that build as the 2021 opens in the glass. This is seriously impressive.Vinous Media | 94-96 VM

As low as $129.00
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

As low as $44.99

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