California: Wine, Californian Wine Regions, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, & More Profiled

Best "Kid-Friendly" Sonoma Wineries - 2015 Best of Sonoma

For the 2015 Best of Sonoma Lists we surveyed hundreds of local vintners asking for their inside perspective of the best wines, tasting rooms, and restaurants in Sonoma.

To help wine-loving parents involve the whole family in the beauty of Sonoma we surveyed 100 local vintners and asked them their favorite kid-friendly area wineries. The results were the three wineries below that provide an excellent family atmosphere that will keep the kids—and the adults—thoroughly entertained.

 

Best Sonoma Wineries for Those Interested in Historic Sonoma - 2015 Best of Sonoma

 

For the 2015 Best of Sonoma Lists we surveyed hundreds of local vintners asking for their inside perspective of the best wines, tasting rooms, and restaurants in Sonoma. 

For wine enthusiasts intrigued by the rich history of the area, we surveyed over a hundred local wine producers for their top historic winery experiences. The results are the below list of Sonoma wineries that offer a historically-infused experience.

Sonoma Wineries with the Most Beautiful Gardens and Landscaping - 2015 Best of Sonoma

 

For the 2015 Best of Sonoma Lists we surveyed hundreds of local vintners asking for their inside perspective of the best wines, tasting rooms, and restaurants in Sonoma. 

If your love for peonies is as strong as your appreciation of pinots, then this list of must-see Sonoma wineries is for you. To help determine the top wineries for discerning gardeners to visit we surveyed over a hundred area vintners for their favorite winery garden experiences.

Sonoma's Must Try Pinot Noirs - 2015 Best of Sonoma

 

For the 2015 Best of Sonoma Lists we surveyed hundreds of local vintners asking for their inside perspective of the best wines, tasting rooms, and restaurants in Sonoma. 

Sonoma offers a wide range of pinot noir options—but some are simply too outstanding to miss. To help develop a list of the top of the top, we asked over a hundred of the top vintners in Sonoma for their own personal choice for the top Pinot Noir under $100 in the area, and the list is to die for.

Which California Cabernet Sauvignons Deserve "First Growth" Status?

In 1855, the Exposition Universelle was held in Paris to showcase all that was good in France.  Emperor Napoleon III requested the leading Bordeaux merchants to rank the best wines.  The top wines were rated as First Growths.  Over the years, many people in the rest of the world have discussed what wines from their country would be First Growths.  I am often asked what I think the First Growths of California are.  It is an interesting conversation with lots of room for debate.

Top 10 California Syrahs - The Wine List - October 2014

Syrah is a grape that most wine merchants will tell you is a difficult sell.  It seems it’s always going to be the next big thing, but never is.  For consumers, that’s a good thing.  A great Syrah usually will cost far less than a comparable quality Cabernet or Pinot Noir.  For my money, I tend to buy more Syrah than any other grape.  A disclaimer here – I liked it so much, I started to make it. 

In any event, as the temperatures start to drop, fall is great time for a hearty red with dinner or next to a warming fire.  Syrah is a grape that really changes its personality depending on where it is grown.  Cooler climate Syrahs can be quite different from warmer climate ones.  California has plenty of each.  While I love many of the cooler climate Syrahs, most of the ones listed below are warmer climate Syrahs.  In my opinion, that is where the very best of Syrahs from California can be found.

The Top 25 Odd-Ball Wines of California

We all know the standard wine varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc, but there are an astounding 10,000 grape varieties here on Planet Earth. The majority of California vineyard acreage is planted to just eight grape varietals and less than 10 percent is home to grapes few people care about, and even fewer understand, let alone can pronounce. But an accomplished assemblage of odd-ball varietals and their winemaker shepherds champion these grapes. These winemakers are the first and only line of defense against the abyss of sameness. Here in alphabetical order are just 25 (there are more) of the most odd-ball grapes turned into wine in the Golden State, followed by their producer, and location.

Top 25 Most Awesome Tasting Rooms in California

Wine tasting is not merely the act of drinking wine, it is the total experience and that includes the physical space you are standing in when sampling Sauvignon Blanc or pondering Petit Verdot.

Ten California Cabernet Sauvignons for the Money

California Cabernets are some of the best wines in the world.  Unfortunately, the pricing on many of them has gotten quite exorbitant.  There are a plethora of great wines for $100 or more.  Even at the $75 mark, there is no shortage of outstanding wines.  So, for purposes of this list, these are my favorite five California Cabernets priced at under $25 per bottle.  In addition, I only chose wines that are very consistent from vintage to vintage.  Finally, I have avoided rare and hard to find wines for this list. 

The Three Legged Winemaker - An Interview with Napa Valley Legend Mike Grgich

Mike Grgich and Brad PrescottI recently had the great privilege of spending an afternoon with legendary Napa Valley winemaker Mike Grgich. Over a long lunch and more than a few bottles of his finest wines, we discussed his career and its influence on Napa winemaking as well as his myriad accomplishments, winning both the 1976 Judgment of Paris and the Great Chicago Showdown to name but a few. I had never met Mike in person before and did not know what to expect. What I found was a man with deep pride in his accomplishments but one who is equally grateful to all those who helped and influenced him along the way. I also discovered a man who is the living embodiment of the American dream, having fled communism to find success in Paradise, California. It's safe to say that my long lunch with Mike was the most enjoyable and interesting day of the six years I have spent running IntoWine. I interviewed Mike via email in 2007. The interview below is round two, where I get to ask my wish list of questions. Thankfully, Mike obliged.  

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