Other Red Blends from California
#66 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2011
Aromas of espresso, cracked peppercorn and shiso leaves exude from the glass. Succulent red currants, cassis and dark cherries lure one in, and delivers a smooth, decadent finish with hints of raw cacao, cigar box, pavement and rustic bramble pie. This new creation has found true varietal balance, encompassing all of our favorite oenological aspects: ruby-cyan hues, mouthwatering acidity, ample but rounded tannins, and a truly insatiable nature.
Wine Spectator - "Starts understated, building depth and dimension, featuring bright, rich black currant, anise, sage and black licorice character. A full-bodied orchestration of flavors at the end weave together into a tapered finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2022. 2,300 cases made."
With Leviathan, the goal is simple: to produce one singular red wine each vintage. Drawing on vineyard sources across California, proprietors Annie Favia and Andy Erickson look to create a unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Merlot.
“With all of the other projects I work on, for Favia, as well as for my winemaking clients, the focus is always on producing single vineyard, site-specific wines. With Leviathan I have complete latitude to create something unique from many different parts. It is like a brain-teaser, and very fun and exciting. California is rich and diverse in terms of grape-growing regions, and I love working to create something that reflects the best that California has to offer.” - Andy Erickson, Winemaker
Leviathan grew out of our work with the vineyards that are the source of the Favia wines produced by Andy Erickson and Annie Favia. In 2004, after creating the blends for Favia, Andy started playing around with various components from nearly all of their vineyard sources—Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Quickly the concept began to take shape: to create one singular wine per vintage, drawn from all four of these varieties, that would highlight the best of California, and take on a character all its own. Since then, we have slowly expanded our vineyard sources, but remained true to the goal of producing a rich, delicious red blend every year. View all Leviathan Wines
About Other California
California has nearly 100 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) and accounts for almost 90% of wine production in the United States. In our section of Other California, we include wines from smaller AVAs as well as wines from the California AVA. Here are a few smaller AVAs you may see on the label:
Livermore Valley AVA, located right outside of San Francisco and home to wineries such as Wente.
Lodi County AVA, an AVA further east of San Francisco and known for its excellent, old-vine Zinfandels.
San Francisco Bay AVA, a sprawling AVA that covers Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, to name a few. Wine that holds only the California AVA is typically a wine that includes grapes from a number of different AVAs, which leads to the general labeling of the wine as California. This does not denote the quality of the wine, only the diversity of where the grapes originate.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.