"The 2003 Proprietary Red (86.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec, aged in 100% new Taransaud barrels) is a killer. Deep ruby/purple-colored, with a big, smoky, fragrant nose of creme de cassis, smoked meats, plum, and licorice, it boasts great intensity, rich, full-bodied, powerful flavors, decent acidity, moderate tannin, and tremendous persistence. It has put on weight since I tasted it last year out of barrel, and should drink well for 15 or more years." -Wine Advocate
Jayson Pahlmeyer has been producing highly sought-after wines since 1986. It began with Jayson's dream to make world-class Bordeaux-style wine from Napa Valley. Pahlmeyer's estate vineyard - Waters Rance - is situated at 2100 feet in the Atlas Peak appellation of Napa Valley. It is the key source for their Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Chardonnay. Jayson's passion eventually led him to the Sonoma Coast, where less than seven miles and two ridges from the Pacific Ocean, he planted Wayfarer Farm, their key source for Pinot Noir.
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It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just granted an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
It'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.
I was fortunate enough to visit a close friend of mine in South Carolina during the Master's week this year. We went out to dinner in Greenville and he brought twowines from his private celler for the table to share. After we all ( 3 of us, his wife doesn't drink the grape) finished the first bottle of Turley which pretty great too, he said wait until you see and taste the next one! I could tell the second it was poured out by it's deep purple color, that this was going to be the treat of the Master's trip! I have never tasted a Red wine so full bodied and easy to drink, that I was wishing we had another bottle waiting as back up! It's amazing I had to travel all the way across the U.S. to try this Napa Valley Propietary Red when the Winery is about and hour South West drive from me. I can see why this year has been sold out! Try to get your lips on a glass or better yet a bottle, because you'll definitely want as much of this as possible!
Most 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.