Sippin’ on Sunshine
California’s diversity of voices and constant reinvention make it one of the most fascinating wine hubs in the world. Although we’re all familiar with the classic Cali Cab or Chardonnay, the state’s style is hard to typify. New and old winemakers are taking fresh stabs at unusual varietals, like Trousseau Gris, once known as “Gray Riesling”. Or, juicy, savory Cinsault, who has remained under-the-radar in the state since 1885.
Get adventurous as you read our staff’s picks of the most exciting wines out of California.
Jolie Laide Trousseau 2017 $34.96
This is the kind of wine that brings a smile to my face, reminding me of the joy of discovery. There’s some skin contact during fermentation and it drinks like a Blanc de Noir. A blend of red fruits, white flowers, and savory herbs are on display. – Erik Guzinski, Wine & Spirits Consultant
Jared and Tracey Brandt craft some of the finest natural wines in California. A blend of Merlot, Grenache, and Mourvèdre, the Gallivanter is filled with juicy blackberries, bright raspberries, a little earthiness, and black pepper. A deliciously fresh wine to serve at your next barbeque. – Amy Miller, Wine & Spirits Consultant
Absentee Winery “Le Rot” $38.96
The converted dairy barn where Avi makes wine does not have running water or heat and is graced by minimal light. This extreme way of making wine gives the juice character all its own. This Syrah smells like getting lost in a forest—lush, towering branches overhead as the sun is slowly sinking. A medium-bodied wine buzzing with blazing acidity. – Heather Gordon, Wine & Spirits Consultant
This is one of my favorite white wines—a departure from the average California white. A blend of Vermentino and Grenache Blanc, it offers fuller body and ripe, spiced pear notes. This vintage clocks in at just over 11% ABV, so you won’t feel guilty about opening a second bottle while you experiment with its delightful pairing potential! – Bambi Ray, Wine & Spirits Sales Manager
Hirsch vineyards have been the source of superb Sonoma fruit ever since David Hirsch founded the winery in 1980. The San Andreas cuvée is blend from all the vineyards, showcasing pure, elegant Pinot Noir that delights with vibrant acidity and delicate cherry and raspberry flavors. – Laura Atbashian, Wine Buyer
Two Shepherds, Cinsault $39.96
This delicate, dark-rose-colored Cinsault is everything I want in a glass of wine. Mouthwatering acidity with juicy pomegranate and raspberry flavors. Just pure and delicious. It’s unoaked, made from 135-year-old vines planted in sandy soil from the Bechtold Vineyard in Lodi. – Laura Atbashian, Wine Buyer