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The Lovely Wines of California

Since we recently talked about wines that come from outside Europe, we thought we’d also mention Californian ones. Just as the wines of New Zealand, they are rapidly becoming more and more popular. To be honest, this particular American state deserves his notoriety since it would be the world’s 4th largest wine producer (if it were a country by itself).

Obviously, the wines of California can’t have the noble legacy of history since it only has been produced here starting with the 18th century. But what started as a wine meant only for religious processions changed over time. First it has a massive growth during The Gold Rush, then a phylloxera epidemic almost made it crash, only to turn towards an uncertain future during the Prohibition. It’s truly golden moment was in 1976 when, during a blind tasting event in Paris, it was finally confirmed to have such qualities that it deserved to be compared to the French wines.

What makes Californian wines special definitely starts with the climate. There’s a special something starting with the specifics of the coast and going further into mainland; also, since they have plenty of sunshine and benefit from warm winters, reasonable amounts of precipitation or cool currents from time to time. Plus, the soils of California have a lot of diversity – sand, loam, clay, seabed, granite, gravel, volcanic ash – each with its own influence on the wine’s final taste.

The remarkable red grapes of California are: Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Syrah, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, while the white ones worth mentioning are: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurtz-Traminer, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Roussanne, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Viognier).

You will find all of these on the North Coast (Lake County, Los Carneros, Mendocino County, Sonoma County and the notorious Napa Valley – birth place the first commercial winery in California, in 1859), the Central Coast (Livermore Valley, Monterey County, Paso Robles, San Benito County, San Francisco Bay, San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County, Santa Clara County, and Santa Cruz Mountains), Sierra Foothills (Amador County, Calaveras County, El Dorado County, Nevada County, Placer County), Inland Valleys (Lodi and the Delta, Madera County, Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley), Southern California (Cucamonga Valley, Los Angeles Area, San Diego County, Temecula Valley) and the Far North California.

Did we peak your curiosity? Have you ever tried a Californian wine? If so, how was it? If not, would you?

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