Following a wine renaissance in the mid-20th century, Californian wine entered the international stage at the 1976 Judgment of Paris wine competition when Californian wines beat out French wines in both red and white wine categories. Today there are more than 1,200 wineries in the state, ranging from small boutique wineries to large corporations like E & J Gallo Winery with distribution across the globe.
Just arrived – four wonderfully oaky Chardonnays from California. Ramey Chardonnay from Russian River Valley, The Hess Collection Chardonnay from Napa Valley, Neyers Chardonnay from the Carneros District and Laetitia Estate Chardonnay from Arroyo Grande Valley.
Bogle Vineyards – Phantom 2010
“The wait is over…Phantom has reappeared for the season! Bogle’s desirable apparition of rich berry and relentless spice returns to haunt wine lovers. Three expressive varietals converge and create a mysterious wine full of flavor, concentration and intensity.”
Bogle website The three varietals are Zinfandel 51% – Petite Sirah 47% – Mourvèdre 2%.
Miro Cellars 2012 Cuvée Sasha
Award winning winemaker Miro Tcholakov considers the particular geology and seasonal climate variations of each vineyard when selecting the most interesting grapes the region has to offer. Monte Lago Vineyard provides the perfect terroir for the Mediterranian grape varieties in this wine – grenache, mourvedre and syrah. This wine offers seductive aromas of jammy strawberries, plums, dried rose petal and Herbes de Provence, a juicy mouthful and long, firm finish. Barrel aged for 10 months.
Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Blanc Paso Robles, CA 2012
The 2012 Patelin de Tablas Blanc shows fruity, floral aromas of honeysuckle, apricot and candied grapefruit, with a spicy mineral note emerging with air. In the mouth it’s mouth-filling with peach and lemon zest flavors and a creamy texture, but kept fresh by vibrant acids. The finish is long, rich and clean, with lingering flavors of peach and mineral.
Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2008
Vivid red. Musky spices, black raspberry, cherry and woodsmoke on the nose. Silky-sweet and dense, with good breadth and volume to the suave red and black fruit flavors. Offers a supple texture and a spicy undertone and finishes with very smooth tannins and a kick of candied licorice.
Inman Family 2007 Pinot NOir Russian River Valley
Red fruit dominates the flavor profile. Mouthwatering perception of acid makes this a fabulous food wine. Layers of sweet, ripe cherry, dried cranberry, rhubarb and raspberry fruits combine with earthy minerality. The wine is elegant, finessed and well balanced with long finish revealing a ‘cranberry zing’ that lingers. The texture is silky and the wine is medium bodied with fine tannins.
Melville Syrah 2009
According to Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “The 2009 Syrah Verna’s is a relatively straightforward wine, as most wines from this site are. Black cherries, flowers and spices are some of the notes that flow from this attractive, plush Syrah. The estate used 30-40% whole clusters here. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2016.”
Ridge 2009 Ponzo Zinfandel
Rustic but zesty, with tart blueberry, cherry and herb aromas and briary flavors that show dill, jalapeño and pepper notes. Drink now through 2016 – Wine Spectator.
Deep garnet in color, has rich black cherry fruit aromas, with hints of eucalyptus and oak.
Joseph Phelps Insignia 2008
89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and 4% Merlot from 100% estate-owned Napa Valley vineyards. The 2008 Insignia boasts aromatic layers of dark roasted coffee and graphite. The seductive mouth-feel has excellent length, intensely ripe black fruit, minerality and creaminess that tie together seamlessly on the palate.
Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
2007 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon combines elegance and depth in a balanced expression of this classic California vintage. It has a dark ruby color with a garnet edge and a complex nose of sandalwood, cedar, cassis, black cherry, dark chocolate and roasted coffee. On the palate, it is extremely rich and mouth-coating and has a long finish of concentrated fruit and spice with a slight tannic grip.
Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2009
2009 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc displays bright, sun-kissed aromas of fresh guava, grapefruit, lime and mineral, with hints of honeydew melon and golden apple. On the sprightly palate, brisk white grapefruit, guava, melon and lemon-lime flavors display a mouthwatering verve, with hints of pineapple and kiwi fruit on the long, refreshing finish.
Rombauer Vineyards 2010 Carneros Chardonnay
Golden yellow color with a pale hue. Seductive aromas of peach, melon, and citrus are balanced with honeysuckle and vanilla. On the palate, flavors of pears, peaches and melons are backed with lively acidity. A nice touch of vanilla-scented oak provides an added flavor dimension. The creamy palate has a lingering finish of melon and citrus fruit with a satisfying buttery complexity.
A balance of forward fruit and bright natural acidity. Aromas of pineapple, guava and pear mingle with hints of vanilla and orange blossoms. The palate is full bodied and rich with the perfect balance between fruit, oak and acidity. Like many ZD Chardonnays, this wine is a joy to drink when young but will also age and develop beautifully for many years to come.