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California Red Wine

Learn about California red wine, common tasting notes, where the region is and more ...

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California is a winemaking colossus; by itself it is the fourth largest producer in the world. Red wine accounts for 56% of the total by volume, and red grapes 63% of total acres planted. In addition, a number of California red wines are heralded as being among the most prestigious and sought-after wines in the world.

While the state’s incredibly diverse geography, soils and microclimates allow for a wide array of styles, the key factor unifying California red wine is the abundance of sunshine and a long, consistent growing season. This leads to well-developed fruit marked both by impressive ripeness and balancing acidity.

The state’s most famous red wine region, of course, is Napa Valley, where Cabernet Sauvignon reigns as king. But California boasts a wealth of other impressive appellations. The much larger and climatically varied Sonoma County also produces world class California Cabernet, along with wonderful examples of California Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.

Fine versions of Cabernet and Zinfandel hail from Paso Robles as well, which is also gaining fame with Rhone varietals like Syrah and Grenache. As for Pinot Noir, terrific examples can be found from AVA’s such as Anderson Valley, Carneros, Santa Lucia Highlands and Sta. Rita Hills. Wineries in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties are making wonderful Syrahs, and the Sierra Foothill appellations are proving to be an experimental hotbed, with Italian and Spanish varietals employed to great effect.

This of course is a mere sketch. The subject of California red wine is as deep and broad as an ocean, and absolutely a joy to explore!

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  • Kosta Browne Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2019  Front Label
    Kosta Browne Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2019
    Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
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    • JS94
    • WW92
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  • Ramey Pedregal Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015  Front Label
    Ramey Pedregal Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
    • JD96
    • WE95
    • RP94
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  • Westwood Winery Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2017  Front Label
    Westwood Winery Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2017
    Pinot Noir from Sonoma County, California
    • TP94
    • JD93
    • WE90
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  • Talley Arroyo Grande Valley Estate Pinot Noir 2018  Front Label
    Talley Arroyo Grande Valley Estate Pinot Noir 2018
    Pinot Noir from Arroyo Grande Valley, Central Coast, California
    • WE93
    • JD90
    • W&S90
    4.3 6 Ratings
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  • Arrowood Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2018  Front Label
    Arrowood Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County, California
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  • Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2018  Front Label
    Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2018
    Merlot from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • WE91
    • JD90
    4.1 12 Ratings
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