Californian Wines

With vines planted in almost every area of the Golden State, the California wine region accounts for nearly 90% of total U.S. Wine Production. California's climate, warm with little-to-no rain, contributes to the concentrated fruit and approachability of the region's wines. When studying our California Wine Ratings, it is hard not to recognize the emergence of Napa’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc as top quality wines. Not to be overlooked are the delicate and expressive Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from the Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley and Carneros AVA, as well as the robust Zinfandels from the Dry Creek Valley and Lodi region. Even the reds from Monterey, Paso Robles, Mendocino and Lake Counties are gaining attention in our California Wine Guide. With the presence of their wines increasing, California is one of the premier wine producing regions in the world.

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Showing 1 thru -8 of 48,341
100
points

Williams Selyem 2007 Litton Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)

  • Online Exclusive
  1. $100
A spectacular Pinot Noir, but a very young one, and extremely dry. It’s a wine of great structure, with rich acids and tannins framing extraordinarily complex flavors of grilled cherries, strawberries and raspberries, with complicating notes of cola, pomegranates, orange zest, anise, dusty Asian spices and smoky sandalwood. A truly great Pinot Noir from a great…  — S.H.  (2/1/2010)
100
points

Shafer 2004 Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon (Stags Leap District)

  1. $215
A perfect score has to be considered in the context of its region. Shafer’s 2004 Hillside Select is tremendous as a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that competes with its peers at the highest levels. It’s always a fabulous wine, but in warm 2004, Shafer’s amphitheater vineyard sheltered the grapes, ripening them to perfection yet protecting the “iron fist in a…  — S.H.  (3/1/2009)
100
points

Cardinale 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)

  • Cellar Selection
  1. $200
Tasted in a flight of great and famous Napa wines, this Cardinale stood at the head of the pack. Starts with a very fine nose of cedar, cassis, ripe blackberries and violets, then turns dramatic and refined in the mouth. Shows vast depth and length, with the finish a full minute of sweet fruits and spices. Marvelous tannins, so plush and elegant, so powerful yet…  — S.H.  (3/1/2010)
100
points

Sloan 2002 Red Wine (Rutherford)

  1. $245
Impossibly aromatic. Hard to imagine greater claret perfume. Shows the most refined mingling of smoky oak, cassis, cherries, roasted coconut macaroon, cocoa puff and spice scents. Absolutely first rate, as good as anything Napa Valley produces. Compellingly, addictively delicious, but so dry and voluptuous. Classic wine, with perfect alignment of fruit, acids…  — S.H.  (9/1/2006)
100
points

Verité 2007 La Muse Red (Sonoma County)

  1. $450
This wine dazzles with perfection. Sourced from vineyards throughout Sonoma County, it refutes the belief that a great Cabernet must come from a single vineyard. It does not. The master’s art of blending, coupled with demanding vineyard practices lends completeness. The blend is 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec, making it an extraordinary success…  — S.H.  (7/1/2012)
99
points

Trefethen 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Oak Knoll)

  • Cellar Selection
  • Online Exclusive
  1. $100
This is nearly perfect, a massive, monumental wine whose sheer power is matched only by its grace and refinement. The flavors of blackberries, cassis, dark chocolate, buttered toast and cedar flood the mouth, tightly controlled by firm tannins and good acidity. Decant for several hours if you open it now, but better to give it 6–10 years in the bottle.  — S.H.  (4/1/2010)
99
points

Failla 2010 Estate Vineyard Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast)

  • Editors' Choice
  1. $44
Shows classic, full-throttle notes of tropical and citrus fruits, pears and sweet green apples, combined with strong minerality and complex layers of buttered toast, honey and creamy lees. The description alone hardly does justice to the wine’s beauty. The acidity is perfect, the oak deftly applied, the finish long and completely satisfying. Winemaker Ehren Jordan…  — S.H.  (7/1/2012)
99
points

Williams Selyem 2010 Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast)

  • Cellar Selection
  1. $75
This expresses the greatness of its vintage and vineyard, offering wave after wave of raspberry and cherry pie flavors, plus notes of red currant, sweet licorice, spicy Dr. Pepper and smoky sandalwood. There’s also something exotically briary and wild that intrigues. Even more remarkable is the texture, an amalgam of acids and tannins that rivals any Pinot Noir…  — S.H.  (3/1/2013)
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