California Wines

California Wines

My Review of California Wines
at the 2019 Vancouver International Wine Festival

Fifteen years ago when once upon a time I lived in California, I only drank Black Tower Piesporter. Period. I didn’t know about California Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays or Roses or anything about wine for that matter. Today I can proudly tell a sommelier that my favorite white is Chablis and favorite red is Chinato. No, back in the days of my life in LA, my favorite past time was shopping at the $99 store in Fairfax and eating my way through buffets in in LA and surrounding cities until I had nightmares of crab legs crawling out of my ears, thanks to Mr. Wacky and Tacky whose trust fund I’m sure didn’t have a clause that prohibited him from spending more than $15 for dinner for two.  Some people get pregnant and push out a baby between their loin in 9 months, me – I wed an unsuccessful playwright with a trust fund and then have my marriage dissolved in 9 months. Is it far less traumatic to be dissolved rather than divorced? All I know is that I should have been drinking when I was married, because my marriage had aromas of burnt cannibus (you can any physician $50+ to give you access to medicinal weed) and heavy notes of sarcasm culminating in a nasty finish.

Now decades later, after 5,000 swirl-sip-and-sometimes-spit tastings, I know that my wine palate gravitates towards reds with elegant tannins, light fruit forward rose wines and off dry sweet unoaked whites. With that in mind and the fact that my blog site is focused on “frugal” wines under $25, here’s my list of recommended California wines.  Note that because quite a few of the California wineries offered California wines over $25, I was able to explore other countries at the Tasting Room of the Vancouver International Wine Festival.  I will be posting a blog on wines for each individual country.

Some of the California wines listed below may not be available yet, but here’s a couple of wine stores/liquor stores where you can search for them online:  BC Liquor Store, Legacy Liquor Store, Marquis Wine Cellar and Everything Wine

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California Wines

Benziger Family Winery
2015 Chardonnay, Sonoma County ($16)

After an all-you-can-eat buffet of king crab legs I always liked to pair it with a Chardonnay such as Benziger Family Winery 2015 Chardonnay which is a light bodied wine with lovely aromas of pears and notes of Meyer Lemon, lemongrass and a creamy finish. My ex Mr Wacky & Tacky literally had a map to all the buffets in LA in his head and this was his version of fine dining.
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California Wines

Imagery Estate Winery
Sauvignon Blanc ($17)

This is the type of wine I would drink after the $4 Kundalini yoga class I used to take at noon in a yoga studio in West Hollywood because its aroma of white flowers and notes of pink grapefruit and lime custard that mingle together in a crisp finish, which would leave me in a more meditative state of mind than wrapping my ankle behind my ears in the “I’m So Not A Pretzel” Pose.
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California Wines

J Lohr
Arroyo Vista Chardonnay ($27)

Hummingbirds, Maltese falcons and BBQs in the back yard on warm winter nights with temperatures above 70 degrees Farhenheit – just some of my favorite things about living in California. And of course, wines such as J Lohr Arroyo Vista Chardonnay whose nose of lemon meringue and caramel opens up in a bouquet of stewed apples, hazelnuts and smoked lime peel.  An 100% Chardonnay with interesting layers of pleasure.  Although this was over $25, it was well worth paying $27 for this interesting Chardonnay.
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California Wines

Jackson Family Wines 
Copain Tous Ensemble Rose 2017 ($20)

“Oh my sweet, how you lure me with your enticing perfume of ripe peach nectar.  And the lush sweet flavour of juicy strawberries makes me giddy,” he said trying to make me fall head over heels with his California pickup lines. But in my mind I thought. “You idiot, don’t you realize that you just stole my wine tasting notes on my blog for Copain Tous Ensemble Rose 2017 #YouJustFlunkedPlagerism101
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California Wines

Kendall-Jackson
Vintner’s Reserve California Rose 2017 ($17)

Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near? Just like me they long to be close to be close to Kendall-Jackson, Vintner’s Reserve California Rose 2017 (75% Pinot Noir, 23% Syrah, 2% Grenache). This wine is where every hummingbird wants to dip his beak into with its beckoning aromas of hibiscus, apricot and peaches that opens your palate to the rhapsody notes of enticing pink grapefruit and strawberries. #DontDrinkAndHum
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California Wines

Meiomi Coastal California Wines
Meomi Rose $27.99

What do you bring as a hostess gift for a psychotherapist for the stars (ex sister-in-law) whose hosting a party for her cat psychic? A bottle of Meomi Rose whose aromas of watermelon and roses and notes of strawberries and stone fruit. Just a light fruit forward wine that refreshes – after all, its hard work to figure out why cats crap on their owners bed when the owners are gone all weekend #TrueStoryImAfraidOnlyInLA
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California Wines

Michael David Winery
Freakshow Petite Petit ($18)

Why are there elephants on the label of a wine named “Petite Petit“?  I mean, isn’t that like putting a photo of Pee Wee Herman on the cover of Playgirl?  Perhaps its because the 85% Petite Sirah and 15% Petit Verdot, blend is one of the California wines that is big on fruit flavour with blackberries, raspberries and dark cherry exploding in your mouth with a touch of oak.  Big in body and in flavour, it’s the elephant in the room you’ll love to talk about.
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California WinesRodney Strong Vineyards
Rose of Pinot ($27.50)

What do you pair with Rodney Strong Vineyard’s Rose of Pinot which is a crisp and lively light bodied rose wine with enticing peach and apricot aromas and strawberry and Meyer lemons notes that tickle my tongue in sheer delight? A patio table outside a quaint B&B in Santa Barbara where I spent my honeymoon before I embarked on my unremarkable 9 month marriage. The highlight of living in LA was drinking plenty of California wines so I’d forget I was married. #MyMarriageWasAnLASoapOpera
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California Wines

Rutherford Wine Company
Rutherford Ranch Napa Valley Chardonnay 2016 ($18)

What do you drink when you receive your certificate of dissolution which is proof that you’re not divorced but a dissolved woman. Why, order up a keg of Rutherford Ranch Napa Valley Chardonnay 2016 which smells like Grandma’s apple pie, but then makes you oh so happy with its lively acidity and abundance of peaches, pears and apricot flavours with a touch of sweet vanilla infused oak. #HelpMeImMelting

Rutherford Wine Company
Morgan Bay California Chardonnay 2017 ($20)

Babcock, Dixie Red, Eva’s Pride , Golden Jubilee – just some of the 10+ varietals of peaches I used to buy at the farmers market outside Spago’s in Beverley Hills. And is it no doubt why Morgan Bay California Chardonnay 2017 smells like so peachy with its ripe red apple and apricot flavours sprinkled with pepper. If Eve would have offered Adam a peach instead of an apple we’d all still be in the Garden of Eden drinking this sweet nectar.
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California Wines

Share A Splash Wine Co.
2017 Angels & Cowboys Rosé ($15.99)

Why aren’t all of Clint Eastwood’s cowboy movies named Angels and Cowboys? After all there’s always a local yokel who pulls out his six shooter to save the damsel in distress from the dastardly villain (all of whom coincidentally have the same name as my ex). But instead Cowboys and Angels Rose is a Grenache based rose wine that smells like a bowl of fragrant peaches and white lilies with notes of bright red cherries and lively acidity. Just the type of wine this damsel likes to use as bait to lure her cowboy into her den of iniquity. #RideThemCowgirl

Share A Splash Wine Co.
2016 Cannonball Chardonnay ($15.99)

Manhattan, Venice, Laguna and Malibu – all California beaches that were great for people watching while I sat in my blanket sipping my 2016 Cannonball Chardonnay in a mysterious Thermos savouring the aromas of sweet lemon pie and notes of pears, plums and hints of nuts with lively acidity. #SomePeopleCountSheepICountStudMuffins

 

 

Author

Dianne

Editor in Chief of Fabulously Frugal in Vancouver.

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