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California is the heartland of wine production in the US, and the state that brought prestige to American wine thanks to the pioneers who built early wineries like , , , and in the 1800s. Its large geographic area ensures a great diversity in growing sites, varieties grown, and quality levels. Generalizations about the state's wines have numerous exceptions; however, a few key facts generally hold true—ample sunshine, dry weather during the growing season, and moderate winters prevail. and continue to dominate the state's production—albeit in continually smaller percentages, as growers continue to diversify. More than 100 different varieties can be found throughout the state.
While the is known mostly for single-varietal wines from or , the is known for complex blends. , for example, allows up to 13 different varieties in a blend leaving winemakers ample room to experiment. This variation makes it almost impossible to describe a typical Rhône blend. Regardless of style, the common goal of these winemakers is to manage high tannin and alcohol levels in order to produce a balanced wine.
The most widely planted variety, , dominates most Rhône blends and adds concentrated spiced red fruit flavors with cinnamon, raspberry, and tobacco characteristics. and Mourvèdre add color and tannin, with Syrah contributing aromas of blueberry, pepper, and bacon while Mourvèdre adds dense black fruit flavors and gamey and meaty aromas. Cinsault provides red fruit flavor. For the best expression of this complex blend turn to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and classic producers like , , or .
Many New-World wine regions, particularly in and , have adopted this winemaking method. The best examples come from producers , , and .
The complexity and spice-forward flavor profile of Rhône blends pair best with herb-roasted turkey, pork chops, a range of cheeses, or spiced vegetables.
Collector Data For This Wine
- 3 bottles owned
- 2 collectors