Cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, sauvignon blanc, zinfandel—California is not lacking in varieties. Indeed, it is home to over 100 types of grapes. The state is a wine-growing gem that has a label for every taste and every occasion.
In addition to the climate, soil diversity has a lot to do with a grape’s expression. From sand and clay to granite, volcanic ash, sea-bed and river gravel, each soil imparts a minerality all its own. The wide range of terroirs means there is an ideal site to grow almost every variety and create complex varieties and unique and vivid blends.
Something for everyone
Louis M. Martini Winery: cabs like none other
The Louis M. Martini estate in Napa Valley began producing wine in 1906. Italian-born Louis M. Martini chose the northern coast, mainly for cabernet sauvignon. In the years that followed Prohibition, he established a heritage of know-how and passion that lives on to this day.
This wine is grown in Dry Creek and Alexander valleys. It offers ripe notes of red fruits and cherry with a hint of cedar.
Another of the estate’s flagship labels, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a rich and balanced offering dominated by chocolate and dark fruit. Try it with this delicious recipe for filet mignon with peppercorn sauce.
Talbott Vineyards: Burgundy inspiration
Talbott Vineyards produces chardonnay and pinot noir. On a business trip to Europe in the 1980s, the winemaker stumbled upon inspiration in the Burgundian traditions. With two Monterey County vineyards—Sleepy Hollow Vineyard and Diamond T Vineyard—Talbott has created a range of exceptional wines for every palate and pinot noir aficionados in particular!
Kali Hart Pinot Noir is an elegant embodiment of the cool Santa Lucia Highlands terroir. You will distinguish prune and candied cherries lifted by nuances of nutmeg and clove in this Monterey red.
Franciscan Estate: all in the details
Franciscan Estate was founded in 1973 by two Napa Valley pioneers: Justin Meyer and Raymond Duncan, who have always relied on grapes from some of California’s best vineyards. In the cellars, the products are developed slowly and with the utmost care to yield unique full-bodied wines.
The Napa Valley brings a rich texture, bursting with candied pear and vanilla sugar flavors, while the Monterey region brings bright acidity to this wine with subtle notes of pineapple and lemon zest. A light minerality and floral notes add complexity to the palate.
Monterey County’s cooler growing climate gives this wine its bright cherry note and blended tannins. A balanced expression of fruit and oak flood the palate with black currant, cherry, blackberry, cedar and a whisper of vanilla.
Orin Swift Wines: a story behind every bottle
Award-winning winemaker David Phinney founded Orin Swift Cellars in 1998; Orin is his father's middle name and Swift is his mother's maiden name. The winery is known as much for its artistic expression on the bottle label as for its bold, yet refined style of each product. Dave and his team create wine blends from a range of top California sites, primarily from Napa Valley.
This blend of Grenache, Petite Sirah and Syrah combines the specific characteristics of each grape. It offers a depth and complexity that could not be achieved otherwise to become so much more than the varieties would have been on their own.
Delicate and brawny, nuanced and audacious, this wine is a magnificent blend of five Bordeaux varieties. The fruits from all over the valley, from Atlas Peak to the gravel-rich soil of St. Helena and Rutherford, each bring their own unique element.
The warm region from which this Napa Valley cabernet emerges allows the grapes to ripen to an intense richness and take on a strong aspect of currant and dark fruits.
Clos Du Bois: champions of chardonnay
Since their very first vintage, wine makers at Clos Du Bois have adhered to their philosophy of merging the elegant taste of French wines and the roundness of fruity California grapes. Russian River Valley Calcaire Chardonnay from Sonoma County is a limited production that embodies the peak of the Clos Du Bois wine-making tradition.
Made with fruit from the exceptional vineyards in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, this chardonnay has a lively acidity. Fermentation in barrels adds a lovely roundness and notes of vanilla, pear and butter.
This ruby red pinot releases an aroma of black cherry and notes of dried violet and sage. Toasty oak balances out the cherry and cranberry.
Ravenswood Winery: passion for zinfandel
Founded in 1976 by Joel Peterson, Ravenswood Winery was among the first to focus its efforts on zinfandel.
This robust, spicy and appetizing wine made from several California designations has elements of black cherry and raspberry.
Pleasant and subtle with notes of dried fruit and a hint of hazelnut, this full-bodied wine has a charming fruitiness and a refreshing finish. A refined and lovely zinfandel to drink or keep.
In partnership with Wines of California