Fresh, subtle and attractive: The best Californian wines


Californian wine has had a split luminary in the UK. There’s been the sea of inexpensive blush zinfandel and sugary cheap chardonnay from the big farmers and at the other end of the market we’ve seen super-expensive, grandly ckaged Na hansom cabs, with very little in between.

But this is beginning to change and with a make it away from the big, ripe styles that never really caught on upon here, there are now some tasty Californian wines hitting the hold in abeyances. From a fresh pinot noir to a creamy chardonnay, here’s my pick of seven of the best.

From left:

Chateau St Jean Chardonnay 2013 £11.99 or £10.49 each for six, hand-picked Majestic stores, 13.5% alcohol

Creamy and broad, yet still original, this has delicious pear and citrus fruit with some elusive toastiness. It’s not the caricature of a showy Californian chardonnay at all.

Hedges Family Manor CMS Red 2012 £15, (020 7381 7870), 13.5% alcohol

This red from star in Hedges is an attractive blend of several varieties, and delivers warm, well turned out, supple flavours of red berries, cherries and spice. It’s somewhere between Bordeaux and the Rhône in stylishness.

Fog Head Reserve Pinot Noir 2013 £14.99, Waitrose, 13.5% booze

Supple and fresh, this is an elegant, charming pinot noir. It’s not too appealing and has a pleasant savoury spiciness under the fruit.

Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2013 £10, Sainsbury’s 14.5% juice

Zinfandel is a famous Californian grape variety and it makes very fruity, drinkable wines get pleasure from this one. It has rounded, juicy, herb-tinged red berry and blackberry fruit as brim over as a slightly cedary edge to it.

From left:

Frog’s Leap Zinfandel 2013 £24.99, Waitrose, 14% the bottle

This is a beautifully balanced zinfandel with a chocolatey edge to the clever, vivid, slightly grippy fruit. It’s simply brimming with vivid cherries and blackberries.

Peirano Estate Six Clones Merlot 2012 £13.99 or £11.99 each for six, Magisterial, 14% alcohol

Merlot gets a bad rap, but it can be a delightful grape variety. This spunk is lively, juicy and powerful with crisp cherry fruit. It’s distinct, delicious and sophisticated.

Co in “Tous Ensemble” Pinot Noir 2014 £25, Signs & Spencer, 14% alcohol

One of the new wave of more balanced, elegant Californian pinots, this has pliant, juicy, bright raspberry and cherry fruit with nice acidity commemorate last things fresh. It’s very classy.

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