This is a big fruit-forward, well-structured Merlot that opens with aromas of black cherry, raspberry, plum, chocolate, black pepper, spice, cedar and vanilla bean. It fills the mouth with black cherry, blackberry, black licorice, plum, hints of nutmeg and spicy oak followed by toasty vanilla in the smooth finish. This medium-bodied wine is well balanced and approachable with a good combination of acid and tannins.
This Merlot will pair well with anything off the grill, from stuffed pork chops to portabello mushrooms with melted blue cheese. It's a great wine to enjoy alongside hearty soups, and also pairs well with tomato-based pastas.
Raymond Vineyard Winery
For generations, Raymond Vineyards has been an integral part of the Napa Valley, with now five generations of viticultural and winemaking expertise. Our new winemaking team captures the essence of the past while infusing the energy of the future and the vibrancy of the next generation into each and every wine. “It is important to retain the core foundation that made this brand legendary in Napa Valley, while keeping the style fresh and relevant to today’s wine drinkers” says Stephanie Putnam.
In addition to our top-notch winemakers and viticulturalists, Raymond has also tapped into a world-renowned winemaker, Phillipe Melka, to assist on our high-end Cabernets and complement the inherent strengths of the team.
As for a specific style, the team aims for the three B’s – Big, Bold, Balanced – yet with refinement and elegance. This philosophy lends itself well to the underlying principal of terroir that dates back thousands of years where the interrelationship between soil, climate, and plant are enhanced by the passion of people to convey an authentic sense of place. Our winemaking team allows the purest expression of the fruit to reign, with aromas and flavors that fill your glass and your palate with wines that are unmistakably powerful, intriguingly complex, and beautifully integrated.
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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.
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.
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 & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.