World-renowned Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are just some of the riches you’ll unearth in California. Dig a bit deeper, and you’ll discover a veritable motherlode of fine wines.
In California, Cabernet is king, Chardonnay is queen, and Pinot Noir is the crown prince, but plentiful sunshine and ideal climate and soil conditions allow this celebrated region to produce an almost inexhaustible range of aristocratic wines. Here’s a snapshot of some key California varietals and styles guaranteed to whisk your palate away to the Golden State.
Produced across California, Cabernet Sauvignon can be ripe and powerful when it’s grown in warmer sites, or aromatic and elegant in cooler regions, but it always delivers impressive structure and ripe black fruit and, especially in Napa, a notably pure cassis.
California Merlot is eminently approachable, with a soft texture, rich ripe cherry and plum fruit and an appealing earthiness. Known as California’s heritage grape, Zinfandel was once the state’s dominant red grape. Old-vine examples can be rich, powerful and spicy, while younger vines tend to offer a lither, fruit-forward take. Pinot Noir grown in cool coastal areas produces silky, elegant wines with nuanced cherry, strawberry and earth tones. The diversity of grapes grown successfully here also affords lovers of Californian wine a delicious breadth of blends to enjoy, often crafted from unlikely combinations.
Discover California Reds
California’s best sites for Chardonnay experience cool ocean fogs and breezes. Cali Chards will range in style from the fresh and crisp to the buttery and rich and often offer ripe tropical fruit notes.
Sauvignon Blanc produces crisp, refreshing wines in California, highlighted by grass, grapefruit citrus, apple and tropical melon tones. Even the lushest of examples retain a driving acidity. Sauvignon Blanc that sees time in oak is known as Fumé Blanc. Viognier is responsible for producing powerful white wines in France’s Rhône Valley; in California, it delivers ripe tropical fruit, orange citrus, pear, peach and spice, with plenty of its classic texture and depth.
Discover California White
Rosé is one of the most popular and easy to understand wine styles. In many ways, these crisp, refreshing, lighter takes on popular red grapes bridge the gap between light white wines and intense reds, and have the versatility to be poured at brunch or dinner or served with burgers or ribs at a barbecue. California produces rosés that span the spectrum from light and delicate to robust and textured.
Discover California Rosés
Regions such as the Russian River Valley, Carneros and Sonoma Coast have the cool temperatures for growing grapes (particularly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) that have the high acidity required to produce premium sparkling wines. Though made in a variety of methods and styles and from any number of grapes, such as Chenin Blanc and Viognier, premium California sparklers are typically crafted from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and in the traditional method made famous by Champagne.
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