Best Washington: Woodward Canyon Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon
courtesy of woodwardcanyon.com
Region: Washington | ABV: 14.5% | Tasting Notes: Black cherry, Menthol, Baking spicesWashington State is further north than Oregonbut, paradoxically, it’s best known for producing grapes that thrive in warmer climates. That’s because the majority of Oregon’s vineyards are located west of the Cascade mountains, exposing them to maritime weather and creating ideal growing conditions for cool-climate grapes like pinot. Washington’s vineyards, meanwhile, lie mostly east of the Cascades, so the maritime influences are blockedresulting in long, warm growing seasons that are perfect for hearty reds like cabernet sauvignon.
Only the second winery to be established in Washington’s prolific Walla Walla Valley, family-run Woodward Canyon has been churning out delicious reds since 1981, and their Artist Series cabernet is a blend of grapes sourced from some of the most highly regarded vineyards in the entire state, including the lengendary Sagemoor Vineyard. “The result is a silky, medium- to full-bodied wine bursting with notes of ripe black cherry, blueberry, cassis, warm baking spices, cedar, black pepper, menthol, and cocoa,” says Claire Coppi, a Certified Sommelier and a cast member on SOMM TV. “Wait about five years before opening, as the wine benefits highly from a little time to integrate in the bottle.”
Tablas Creek Vineyard Tempranillo
- Tablas Creek Vineyard is located in Paso Robles and is known for its Rhône-style blends and organic vineyards, as well as biodynamic farming practices. Youll also find rich and fruity red wines limited release wines and a full sized tasting room, if you visit.
- Tempranillo produces a rich and deep red wine with notes of leather and cherries, with a medium-full body. Because its dry and lower in aroma than other wines, youll most likely find it blended with Grenache or Carigan.
What Are Popular Wineries In Sonoma
Sonoma is a sprawling wine region, with standout wineries throughout. B.R. Cohn, Kutch, Buena Vista, Cline, Ceja, and many more have helped make Sonoma a premier source of some of the most important and tasty wines in America.
Browse our full selection of California wines online or check out our selection of highly-rated California wines for a great new wine to try this week!
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California Wineries: Seal Beach Winery
Michael Dawson, the owner and proprietor of Seal Beach Winery, really knows wine, which one should expect from a winemaker, but he really knows it on another level. Dawson intimately studies and understands the chemistry and biology of grapes and the process of fermenting them into wine, and with that understanding comes the fantastic product that he and his staff create at Seal Beach Winery. Guests who stop by their tasting room in Los Alamitos will find a full tasting menu that includes glasses, bottles, tasting flights, growlers, and even charcuterie boards to pair with their wine choices.
3387 CERRITOS AVE, LOS ALAMITOS, CA 90720, Phone: 562-594-5800
Best Chilean: J Bouchon Pas Salvaje
Courtesy of Plonk Wine Club
Region: Central Valley, Chile | ABV: 12.5% | Tasting Notes: Red fruits, Cherry, Wild Strawberry, Floral
Never heard of País before? If you love earthy, medium-bodied reds with tons of acid, then this historic grape needs to be on your radar.
Produced from organically farmed vineyards in the heart of Chiles Central Valley, this flavor-packed wine jumps with notes of wild strawberries, red flower petals and wild herbs. For a crowd-pleasing red that promises to satisfy the masses, look no further than this tasty, budget-friendly option.
Region: South Australia, Australia | ABV: 14.5% | Tasting Notes: Black cherries, Cassis, New leather, Fruit cake
Penfolds, unquestionably the greatest winemaking estate in Australia, is best known for its iconic wine, Penfolds Grange. Chief winemaker Peter Gago made it his mission to produce well-structured wines with deep flavors and, as he puts it, a propensity to age.
Region: Central Otago, New Zealand | ABV: 13.5% | Tasting Notes: Red berries, Dried cherries, Mocha
With its cool climate and mountainous terrain, New Zealand is home to some of the world’s best regions for growing quality pinot noir. Deep, dark-fruited, lively and breathtaking wines are being made in places like Central Otago. And in the heart of this region lies Felton Road, maker of several complex pinots.
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Best Wineries In California
Californias climate is perfectly suited for growing grapes and producing wine. The wineries located in the state of California, particularly the Napa Valley, are home to some of the best wines in the world. In fact, the state of California makes approximately 90% of the wine produced in the United States. Their vineyards have something for everyone, from sweet to dry and red to white, and visitors at these California wineries will find not just delicious wine but a friendly atmosphere, gorgeous facilities, and breathtaking scenery. Be sure to call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.
Why Is California Wine So Popular
Wine from California has long been prized for its different varieties and signature brands. But clearly, there are other reasons wine from California is making wavelengths across the country and around the world. Even as of 2017, sales of California wine reached a staggering thirty-five billion dollars, a growth of three percent from the previous year.
Within the past decade, infact, sales of California wine grew by fifteen percent. Despite wine consumption per capita stagnanting, one thing that might explain the continual rise of wine drinking is demographic shifts: those of legal drinking age have increased in proportion to the overall population.
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A Brief History Of Winemaking In California
A Christmas tree made of wine barrels in St. Helena, Napa Valley
California continues to lead the pack when it comes to New World wines, with Napa Valley being the premium wine tasting destination for visitors from all over the world.
Although wine making started more than 250 years ago in 1769 with the cultivation of grapes by the Franciscan Missionaries, commercial wine making took off around 1830, thanks to a Frenchman, Jean Louis Vignes who arrived from Bordeaux and recognized the potential of our terra, i.e. land!
The gold rush era from 1848 brought in several immigrants from Europe, many of who were well versed in growing grapes and started doing so with great gusto. Naturally, the industry expanded rapidly during 1860-1880 as numerous wineries were established. The quality of California wines improved tremendously during this period, thanks to Count Agoston Haraszthy who brought many vine cuttings back to California from his trips to Europe . The completion of the transcontinental railroad system in 1869 also allowed California wines to travel far and wide.
Flushed from this success of Californias wine making, the University of California established a major research center in Berkeley and experimental vineyard plots in many areas of the state around 1880. This early work has now evolved into the now famous Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California at Davis.
Cambria Pinot Noir 2015
If you are looking for another fruit-forward favorite with toasted undertones, check out this next one. Rated 94 by Wine & Spirits, Cambria Pinot Noir hails from the Santa Maria Valley. The flavors are a lovely balance of deep and dark, with hints of black pepper, blackberries, and plum. With flavors of sugary black cherry, sweet strawberry jam, smoky oak, youll enjoy this brisk texture with smoked pork.
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What To Taste In California
At wine tastings and tours in California, be sure to try the region’s signature wines.
- Full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. The most famous variety from Napa and Sonoma features aromas of black fruits, tobacco, minerals, and also cedar.
- Chardonnay influenced by the breeze of the Pacific Ocean. Chardonnay from California has a very rich body accompanied by a rich bouquet. Enjoy fresh flavours of pineapple, apple, caramel, vanilla and an oaky finish.
Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery
Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery was founded by Samuele Sebastiani, who left his native Tuscany for California in 1895 and started his own winery in the hills of Sonoma less than a decade later. During Prohibition, Sebastiani Vineyards was the only winery in the region to continue making wines, albeit restricted to medicinal and religious purposes. The winery persevered through Prohibition and the Great Depression by becoming a community center for the population, with a skating rink, theater, hotel, and other services offered on site to keep it running. The winery remained in the family after Samueles death until 2008, when it came under new management, though it still carries on his tradition of a fine community and even finer wines.
389 Fourth Street East, Sonoma, CA 95476, Phone: 707-933-3200
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Angels Ink Pinot Noir 2018
Collected from leading vineyards across the Central Coast of California, Angels Ink Pinot Noir is known for its rich, round, and supple texture. With a lovely dominance of fruit and an overtone of oak, the wine charms the palate with a splash of berry and a vanilla quench that envelopes its character. This wine makes a lovely pairing with roast duck, honey garlic salmon, or light cheeses.
Plan Your Visit To Californias Top Wineries
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Wineries In California: Lodi Wine & Visitor Center
Napa might get all the credit, but the Lodi region was voted wine region of the year during 2015. The mild climate, with warm days and cool evenings, is perfectly suited for many different varietals of grape, so wineries in Lodi can maintain a full, rich, and complex flavor in their wines. Visitors looking for a wine tour should look no further than Lodi, as there are an abundance of great wineries in the region and the wine trail, provided by Lodi Wines of California, features a wide variety of vineyards. They run a number of events throughout the year involving the local wineries of the area, so visitors should check out their website for any upcoming festivities.
2545 West Turner Road, Lodi, CA 95242, Phone: 209-367-4727
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Flowers Vineyards & Winery Cazadero
Flowers and wine what else does one need for the most romantic setup? Flowers is one of the newest to have a wine-tasting room in 2019 after it was founded in 1991. The Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay or Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir has already become a rage among the locals, and chef Tyler Florences chicken served with local sides. Also, it is one of the most promising vineyards in the state.
If you are looking for a quick and super romantic vacation with your lover, Flowers is the perfect pick for you. A former nursery, Flowers, has precisely the kind of vibe that its name suggests. Flowers have all to qualify as one of the most romantic wineries in California ever from magnificently romantic interiors to Dutch-imported chandeliers. To add to all of it, Flowers also has Instagram-friendly private cabanas situated throughout the outdoor gardens, which let couples share their special moments with near and dear ones. After all, who wouldnt want to upload a proposal on Instagram?
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Frei Brothers Merlot 2017
If you plan on having beef, lamb, or veal, be sure to think of Frei Brothers Merlot for your ideal pairing. Hailing from Healdsburg, this Dry Creek Valley Merlot reminds us of red licorice and blackberry. There are undertones of smoky oak and caffè mocha that are sure to melt your palate.Interested in learning more about wine? Browse our collection to find other recipes like these:
Best Of California Coastal Wine Region
Emerging as a top-tier wine region on the world stage, Californias Central Coast boasts rolling vineyards and views like those of Tuscany. Sip, swirl and savor award-winning wines beneath a warm sun, sometimes just one mile from the ocean. For visitors seeking the extraordinary, wine tasting in San Luis Obispo and nearby cities on Highway 1 does not disappoint.
Discover the influence of the Pacific Ocean on growing conditions, exploring vineyards with one of the many San Luis Obispo wine tours. Find a Central Coast food and wine festival or follow a Central Coast wine map to hunt down your next favorite bottle. The options for indulgence here are nearly as abundant as the vineyards themselves, but the vibe is never fussy. In a tasting room, youre just as likely to see tee shirts and flip flops as you are boots and belt buckles. So pack your casual duds and get in on the laid-back coastal San Luis Obispo wine country lifestyle.
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Best Southern California: Tyler Winery Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir
courtesy of skurnik.com
Region: Santa Rita Hills, California | ABV: 13.5% ABV | Tasting Notes: Black cherries, Redcurrant, Mocha
In 1971, years before California wines were garnering much international esteem, botanist Michael Benedict and his friend Richard Sanford planted their eponymous vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills. They’d been seeking a cool-climate site that might yield grapes capable of producing wines with enough depth and elegance to rival the classics of Europeand, half a century later, their experiment has proved a resounding success, with the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard having established itself as the source of some of the most sought-after pinot noir grapes in California. Tyler winemaker Justin Willett has been lucky enough to craft a celebrated pinot from this vineyard for over a decade now.
“Utilizing cooler climate single vineyard sites with close proximity to the ocean, Justin Willett creates perfectly balanced pinots and chardonnays,” says Lopez. “All of his wines are made the exact same, to express the individual terriorsand this juicy, vibrant, and salty offering is among the elite wines of all of California.”
Mayacamas Vineyards: Napa Valley
“Mayacamas Vineyards is perched on the slopes of Mount Veeder above the Napa Valley. This is the next tier up in terms of price , but the wines are reference pointsfull of character and age-worthy. Their Cabernet Sauvignon was one of the Californian wines in the famous Judgement of Paris tasting and their Chardonnay is perhaps the closest California comes to French white Burgundy.” David Lynch
What to Try:Mayacamas Chardonnay Mount Veeder-Napa Valley
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Gamay Gewurztraminer Grenache Blanc
- Gamay produces a light-bodied red wine and is actually related to Pinot Noir. While Pinot Noir is arguably more popular, Gamay tends to be much more affordable and is a great alternative when youre on a budget.
- Gewurztraminer actually grows best in cool climates, and produces a lightly sweet, semi-dry wine that has a lower alcohol content than most white wines, making it a great choice for a dessert wine or a dinner wine. The aroma has been best described as similar to lychee fruit, and it can be consumed with Asian cuisine.
- Grenache Blanc is the white variety of the red grape, Grenache and produces a wine that is high in alcohol, low in acidity, and brimming with herb and fruit notes.
The Top 20 California Wines For Your Cellar
California is the largest wine-producing region in the United States. With fruity red wines, crisp whites and effervescent sparklers, its no wonder why 20 of the states wines were chosen from our 2021 Top 100 Cellar Selection list.
Here are the top 20 California wines to start aging now.
Ramey 2018 Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay $70, 100 points. This is a stunner from blocks planted in 1997 and 1999. Beautiful aromas of toasted hazelnut and stone lead to a palate that shows undeniable minerality paired with lasting acidity. It shows freshness and energy throughout. Drink 20262032. Cellar Selection. Virginie Boone
Brewer-Clifton 2019 3D Pinot Noir $65, 98 points. This wine is both crowd-pleasing and elegantly complex. Focused aromas of strawberry, ripe cherry, hibiscus and spearmint make a punchy start on nose. The palate is loaded with minty herbs, bright strawberry and sizzling acidity. Drink through 2039. Cellar Selection. Matt Kettmann
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