California’s Finest Wines to Stock up on this Fall

Embrace the Delights of California’s Premium-Level Wines As summer comes to a close, and autumn paints the landscape with its golden hues, we’re excited to introduce you to a handpicked selection of premium-level California wines that capture the heart and soul of the season. These bottles from various corners of the state promise to elevate your fall gatherings and cozy moments. 

September 2023 Wine Features

2021 Sola Central Coast Rosé  

Why We Love This Wine: The Sola Central Coast Rosé is a celebration of the California sun. With a vibrant bouquet of fresh strawberries and hints of citrus, this wine dances on the palate with refreshing acidity. Whether paired with a picnic in the park or a relaxed evening at home, this Rosé embodies the carefree spirit of fall.

Grenache makes for a wonderful version of blush wine. Dry and crisp with strawberry and stone fruit aromatics. Tannins are firm but soft leading to a clean finish.

Idell Family – MB-5V Red Wine, Sonoma Valley

Why We Love This Wine: From the picturesque Sonoma Valley comes the Idell Family MB-5V Red Wine. Bursting with red fruit flavors and a touch of spice, this blend offers a glimpse into the unique terroir of the region. Its approachable profile makes it a versatile companion to a variety of fall dishes, making every meal a delightful experience.

This is a field blend vineyard, Sonoma Valley 100% Estate grown grapes. This vineyard is dry farmed, head pruned and a traditional Sonoma field blend: Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Carignan, Mourvedre and Grenache all farmed together, harvested together and fermented together. Very rich, complex, robust blend with hints of blackberry, raspberry and chocolate.

2021 Painted Fields Old Vine Zinfandel, Sierra Foothills

Why We Love This Wine: The Painted Fields Old Vine Zinfandel is a true gem from the Sierra Foothills. With its deep crimson color and bold berry notes, this wine exudes warmth and comfort. As the air turns crisp, allow this Zinfandel to bring a touch of rustic charm to your fall evenings.

This Old Vine Zinfandel is sourced from different vineyards throughout the Sierra Foothills AVA region to compose a beautiful, elegant red wine similar to what was likely produced here in the early days before Zinfandel wine became a jammy fruit bomb.

2019 Muscardini Cellars Fortuna, Sonoma

Why We Love This Wine: Elegance meets approachability in the Muscardini Cellars Fortuna. With a graceful balance of dark fruit and subtle oak, this wine embodies the heart of Sonoma. Whether enjoyed with a hearty stew or shared amongst friends, it encapsulates the essence of togetherness that defines the season.

This proprietary red blend is crafted with 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Zinfandel, 18% Syrah, 8% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, and 2% Petite Sirah. With a captivating dark red hue, this full-bodied red wine dazzles the senses the moment it hits the glass. On the nose, the fresh aromas of wild berries are interlaced with nuances of fresh lavender, dark chocolate truffle, baking spices, and cigar box.

2020 Markus Zeitlos Red Wine, Lodi, California

Why We Love This Wine: The Markus Zeitlos Red Wine is a blend that marries the flavors of California’s diverse landscapes. With notes of red berries and a touch of earthiness, it creates a harmonious symphony on the palate. Let this wine be your companion as you savor the fleeting beauty of fall.

The wine blends mostly Syrah with Viognier, Carignane and Petite Sirah. This wine represents Markus’ take on Northern Rhone.  I found a well-integrated smooth and balanced wine with aromas of leather, tobacco, and vanilla.  The wine exhibited flavors of Cherry, mocha, mushroom, and some black pepper on the finish. 

2012 Byrd Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendocino County, California

Why We Love This Wine: Bold and brilliant, this 2012 is bursting with classic Cabernet notes – black fruits like plum and blackberries dominate, with touches of clove and chocolate. Layered and dense, this wine is textbook Northern California Cabernet.

Be sure to visit our wine shop to discover these wines and many more like them. If you’re interested in learning, venture over to our “regional focus” tab and learn more about the wine regions these great wines come from.

Premium Winemaker Selections from Cult Wine Producers

Discover the Essence of Napa Valley in Every Sip As the summer heat begins to shift and the air turns crisp, we’re delighted to unveil a selection of wines that capture the very essence of fall. Napa Valley, known for its stunning vistas and world-class winemaking, has brought forth three exceptional bottles that will undoubtedly enrich your autumn moments.

Noctus Red Blend by Modus Operandi Cellars Crafted with precision and passion, the Noctus Red Blend embodies the soul of Napa Valley. A symphony of Bordeaux varietals, this wine envelops the palate with deep notes of black cherries, velvety chocolate, and a whisper of smoky oak. Its robust character is the perfect companion to hearty fall dishes and cozy gatherings by the fireplace.

Okapi Cabernet Sauvignon The Okapi Cabernet Sauvignon is a testament to the elegance of Napa’s terroir. With grapes meticulously selected from prime vineyards, this wine presents a harmonious balance of dark fruits, gentle spices, and a touch of vanilla. Its lingering finish is an invitation to relish the beauty of the season, making it an impeccable choice for those autumn evenings.

Double Eagle by Grieve Winery Double Eagle by Grieve Winery is the embodiment of a breathtaking Napa sunrise. This meticulously aged Cabernet Sauvignon enchants with its layers of blackberry, cassis, and a nuanced hint of tobacco. As you uncork this bottle, let its rich complexity transport you to the heart of Napa’s vineyard-laden landscapes.

Fall Exclusive Offer: Embrace the Napa Valley Experience Indulge in the allure of Napa Valley with our exclusive fall offer. Purchase a selection of these exquisite wines and receive a complimentary virtual tasting experience with a sommelier from each respective winery. Immerse yourself in the stories, flavors, and craftsmanship that define Napa’s winemaking heritage

Member’s Corner: A Taste of Fall Luxury We’re thrilled to showcase the vibrant community of Top Flight Wine Club members who have been sharing their fall wine experiences. Thank you for being part of our community.

September 2023 Wine Features

2019  Grieve Family Wines Double Eagle Red Wine

Why We Love This Wine:

Located in Napa’s remote Lovall Valley, a small, elevated growing region noted for its uniquely cool climate, Grieve Family Wines blends distinct viticulture with masterful winemaking to produce Bordeaux-style wines of exquisite site expression and stylistic integrity. The winery produces two labels, the Grieve Family Estate Wines, exclusively from their Lovall Valley estate vineyard, and the Grieve Family Double Eagle wines, a proprietary blend of estate fruit and grapes from premier Napa Valley sites, named for vintner David Grieve’s golf passion.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

The 2019 vintage of our Double Eagle Red made by Philippe and Maayan was produced from grapes sourced from two very exclusive vineyard sites in St. Helena and Oakville. The grapes were vinified individually by block to maximize the individual character of each vineyard in the final blend. The lots were fermented in stainless steel tanks with an average of 22 days on the skins before aging for 18 months in French oak. The final blend displays the rich, fruit-driven character that is the signature of our select valley-floor sites.

2019 Modus Operandi Noctus Red Wine Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

Jason Moore, winemaker and owner, is becoming a close friend and frequent placeholder in our wine club selections. He continues to produce brilliant wines and has burst onto the scene by receiving scores from a variety of wine critics.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

(75% Syrah, 25% Malbec) This Syrah blend is located in the heart of Carneros at Hyde Vineyards, and sits in the coolest region of Napa Valley influenced by the Petaluma Gap. Morning fog and cool breezes in the afternoons allow for warm days and cool nights resulting in a long growing season. Through years of extensive research and experimentation, Larry Hyde has planted a unique variety of clones while carefully orienting the row directions to suit the rolling hills. His tireless work has resulted in a tapestry of vineyard blocks with over ten different varietals planted covering the unique terroir of Hyde Vineyards.

2014 Okapi Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

Jungle Love Vineyard is just 1.7 acres of creative trellising (“divided bilateral”) and smart design by Mike Nuñez, Okapi Vineyard Manager, to allow close planting and optimal sun exposure. This allows them to hand-cultivate 2000 vines of three different clones in a small space. They belong to the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, known as the “sweet spot” of the valley between cool Carneros and the intense heat upvalley.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

A Napa powerhouse Cabernet Sauvignon, the Jungle Love Vineyard is defined by alluring aromas of milk chocolate, graphite, blueberries, flint, blackberries, fresh pastry, and raspberry syrup. The palate is amazingly dense and welcoming with juicy, sweet, black cherry, dusted cinnamon, and black currants leading to a long and elegant finish.

Be sure to visit our wine shop to discover these wines and many more like them. If you’re interested in learning, venture over to our “regional focus” tab and learn more about the wine regions these great wines come from.

Sierra Foothills – The Best Wines in Rugged, Hillside Vineyards

As dedicated collectors of fine wines, we are delighted to share the premium wines from the Sierra Foothills and Amador County and what makes them truly unique. Situated in the eastern part of California, these regions offer a captivating wine experience shaped by their rich history, rugged landscapes, and distinctive terroir.

The Sierra Foothills and Amador County are known for their exceptional production of premium wines, particularly showcasing the following characteristics:

  1. Zinfandel: The Sierra Foothills and Amador County are renowned for their world-class Zinfandel wines. The region’s warm and sunny climate, coupled with well-drained, granite-rich soils, provides the perfect environment for Zinfandel grapes to thrive. The resulting wines are bold, robust, and full-bodied, with flavors of ripe berries, black pepper, spice, and often a hint of smokiness. Zinfandels from this region are highly sought after by collectors for their rich complexity and ageability.
  2. Rhône Varietals: The Sierra Foothills and Amador County also excel in the production of Rhône varietals, including Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Viognier. The region’s warm days and cool nights allow these varietals to develop intense flavors and aromas while maintaining good acidity. Syrahs from the Sierra Foothills showcase dark fruit, peppery spice, and a velvety texture, while Grenache and Mourvèdre offer elegance, structure, and vibrant fruit character.
  3. Barbera: Amador County is particularly known for its Barbera wines. The region’s high elevation vineyards and volcanic soils contribute to the development of Barbera grapes with vibrant acidity, intense color, and bright fruit flavors. Barberas from this region often display cherry, plum, and currant notes, with a smooth, medium-bodied profile that makes them incredibly food-friendly and versatile.
  4. Bordeaux Varietals: While less common, the Sierra Foothills and Amador County have also shown promise in producing Bordeaux varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. The region’s warmer areas provide the necessary heat accumulation for these varietals to ripen fully. Cabernet Sauvignon, in particular, exhibits rich flavors of blackberry, cassis, and dark chocolate, often with velvety tannins and a long, lingering finish.
  5. Historic Vineyards: Both the Sierra Foothills and Amador County boast a wealth of historic vineyards, some dating back to the California Gold Rush era. These vineyards not only add to the allure and romanticism of the region but also contribute to the unique character of the wines produced. The old, head-trained vines produce low yields of concentrated fruit, resulting in wines of exceptional quality, depth, and complexity.

What makes the premium wines from the Sierra Foothills and Amador County truly remarkable is their sense of authenticity and connection to the land. The rugged landscapes, high elevation vineyards, and distinctive terroir combine to create wines that embody the spirit of the region. Collectors appreciate the uniqueness of these wines, as they offer a glimpse into the winemaking traditions and heritage of California’s gold rush era, while showcasing the remarkable quality that can be achieved in this lesser-known wine region.

The Sierra Foothills and Amador County’s premium wines have rightfully earned their place among the cherished treasures sought after by collectors, who are drawn to their bold flavors, remarkable structure, and the stories they tell.

The Sierra Foothills are just one of many unqiue wine growing regions in California. Check out similar posts in our Wine Region Education, or venture into our Guide section to increase your knowledge.

Napa Valley – Reasons why it Attracts so many Collectors.

As passionate collectors of fine wines, we am thrilled to describe the premium wines from Napa Valley and what makes them truly exceptional. Napa Valley, located in the heart of California’s wine country, is renowned worldwide for producing some of the most sought-after and collectible wines (see our Premium Shop). The region’s unique combination of terroir, climate, and winemaking expertise contribute to the distinct qualities of Napa Valley wines.

Here are some key aspects that make the premium wines from Napa Valley truly unique:

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon: Napa Valley is synonymous with world-class Cabernet Sauvignon. The region’s warm climate, long growing season, and well-drained volcanic soils provide optimal conditions for growing Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Napa Valley Cabernets are known for their depth, complexity, and age-worthiness. They showcase concentrated flavors of black currant, dark cherry, and cassis, often with nuances of tobacco, chocolate, and cedar. The wines exhibit a remarkable balance of power, elegance, and finely structured tannins that contribute to their longevity.
  2. Bordeaux-Style Blends: Napa Valley is also recognized for its exceptional Bordeaux-style blends, often combining Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. These blends offer winemakers the opportunity to craft wines with added complexity, layers of flavors, and a seamless integration of varietals. Napa Valley’s Bordeaux-style blends are known for their opulence, rich fruit expression, velvety textures, and the ability to age gracefully.
  3. Mountain Vineyards: Napa Valley boasts a range of microclimates and diverse terroirs, including mountain vineyards. Wines sourced from mountainous regions like Howell Mountain, Mount Veeder, and Spring Mountain District possess unique qualities. The higher elevation vineyards, cooler temperatures, and well-drained rocky soils contribute to wines with concentrated flavors, vibrant acidity, and firm tannins. These mountain wines often exhibit intense dark fruit flavors, structure, and a sense of minerality that sets them apart.
  4. Oakville AVA: The Oakville AVA, located in the heart of Napa Valley, is renowned for its premium wines. The region’s combination of well-drained soils, ample sunshine, and moderate temperatures yields wines with exceptional depth, complexity, and refinement. Oakville is known for producing Cabernet Sauvignon wines with expressive black fruit, velvety textures, and a seamless integration of oak. The wines from this AVA often showcase the epitome of Napa Valley’s winemaking prowess.
  5. Winemaking Expertise: Napa Valley is home to some of the world’s most talented winemakers and vineyard managers. Their expertise, commitment to quality, and attention to detail are essential in producing premium wines that consistently meet the highest standards. From meticulous vineyard management practices to precise barrel aging techniques, the craftsmanship behind Napa Valley wines is truly unparalleled.

What makes the premium wines from Napa Valley so highly coveted among collectors is their ability to encapsulate the region’s unique characteristics. Napa Valley wines represent a harmonious blend of terroir, climate, and human artistry, resulting in wines that offer exceptional quality, complexity, and ageability. Collectors treasure these wines not only for their immediate enjoyment but also for their ability to evolve and improve with time, making them a true treasure in any cellar.

Napa Valley’s premium wines continue to captivate collectors worldwide, with their unrivaled expression of Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux-style blends, distinct mountain wines, and the remarkable expertise of the region’s winemakers. They represent the pinnacle of California winemaking and stand as a testament to the region’s position as the top producing wine region in the world.

The Napa Valley is just one of many unqiue wine growing regions in California. Check out similar posts in our Wine Region Education, or venture into our Guide section to increase your knowledge.

Mendocino County – Grass is Greener on the other side?

As dedicated collectors of fine wines, we are delighted to highlgiht the premium wines from Anderson Valley and what makes them truly unique. Nestled in the beautiful hills of Mendocino County, California, Anderson Valley is a hidden gem known for its cool climate and exceptional wine production.

Here are some key aspects that make the premium wines from Anderson Valley truly remarkable:

  1. Pinot Noir: Anderson Valley has gained widespread recognition for its exquisite Pinot Noir wines. The region’s cool, coastal climate, influenced by the nearby Pacific Ocean, creates ideal conditions for growing this delicate varietal. The wines from Anderson Valley exhibit a vibrant acidity, elegant structure, and a beautiful expression of red fruit flavors such as cherry, cranberry, and raspberry. They often possess a captivating complexity, with subtle earthy undertones, floral aromatics, and a refined, silky texture.
  2. Sparkling Wine: Anderson Valley is also celebrated for its exceptional sparkling wines. The cool climate and well-drained soils allow for the cultivation of grapes with vibrant acidity and balanced sugar levels, essential for producing high-quality sparkling wines. Sparkling wine producers in Anderson Valley employ traditional methods such as Méthode Champenoise, resulting in bubbles that are fine, persistent, and delicate. These sparkling wines showcase a range of flavors from crisp green apple and citrus to more complex notes of brioche and toasted almonds.
  3. Alsatian Varietals: Anderson Valley is known for its success in cultivating Alsatian varietals such as Gewürztraminer and Riesling. The region’s cool climate provides the ideal conditions for these aromatic white varietals to thrive. Gewürztraminer from Anderson Valley exhibits intense floral aromas, exotic spice notes, and luscious flavors of lychee and tropical fruits. Riesling wines from the region often display vibrant acidity, delicate floral aromatics, and a range of fruit flavors from citrus to stone fruits, all with an underlying minerality.
  4. Cool Climate Chardonnay: Anderson Valley’s cool climate is also well-suited for the production of Chardonnay wines. The region’s long growing season and abundant sunshine allow for slow, even ripening of the grapes, resulting in Chardonnays with bright acidity, balanced fruit expression, and a refreshing character. Anderson Valley Chardonnays often exhibit flavors of green apple, citrus, and pear, complemented by subtle oak influences and a crisp, mineral-driven finish.
  5. Small-Scale Production: What sets Anderson Valley apart is its emphasis on small-scale, artisanal production. Many of the wineries in the region are family-owned and operated, allowing for a hands-on approach and meticulous attention to detail. This commitment to quality is reflected in the limited production and the exceptional craftsmanship of the wines.

The premium wines from Anderson Valley capture the essence of the region’s cool climate and showcase the skill and dedication of its winemakers. Collectors appreciate these wines for their elegance, finesse, and ability to convey a true sense of place. With their delicate yet complex flavors and the potential for graceful aging, Anderson Valley wines hold a special place in any collector’s cellar.

Anderson Valley’s premium wines continue to gain recognition and acclaim, offering a distinctive and compelling expression of Pinot Noir, sparkling wines, Alsatian varietals, and cool climate Chardonnay. They embody the essence of Anderson Valley’s unique terroir and the passion of the winemakers, making them highly sought-after treasures in the world of wine collecting.

The Anderson Valley is just one of many unqiue wine growing regions in California. Check out similar posts in our Wine Region Education, or venture into our Guide section to increase your knowledge.

Paso Robles; New Kid on the Block or Sleeping Giant?

Paso Robles wine country, located on the Central Coast of California, is known for its unique characteristics that set it apart from other wine regions. Here are some factors that make Paso Robles wine country unique:

Climate: Paso Robles has a warm Mediterranean climate with hot summers and cool evenings, making it ideal for grape cultivation. The region benefits from a diurnal temperature variation, which helps grapes develop optimal sugar levels while retaining good acidity.

Diverse Terroir: Paso Robles boasts a diverse range of soils and microclimates, thanks to its location between the coastal mountain ranges. The region has a mix of limestone, shale, sand, and clay soils, allowing for a wide variety of grape varietals to thrive and express their unique characteristics.

Vineyard Diversity: Paso Robles is known for its wide range of grape varietals grown in the region. While the area is renowned for its robust red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Syrah, it also excels in producing outstanding white wines like Chardonnay, Viognier, and Roussanne.

Artisan Winemaking: Paso Robles has a vibrant community of small, family-owned wineries, fostering an environment of innovation and craftsmanship. Many winemakers in the region emphasize sustainable and organic farming practices, focusing on quality over quantity.

Rhône Varietals: Paso Robles has gained recognition for its exceptional Rhône varietals, particularly Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. The region’s warm climate and well-draining soils produce ripe, full-bodied wines with rich flavors and soft tannins.

Some of the premium wines that Paso Robles is known for include:

Cabernet Sauvignon: Paso Robles produces impressive Cabernet Sauvignon wines with ripe black fruit flavors, structured tannins, and a touch of Paso Robles’ characteristic spice.

Zinfandel: Known as the heritage grape of the region, Paso Robles Zinfandel is celebrated for its bold, jammy fruit flavors, peppery spice, and luscious texture.

Rhône-style Blends: Paso Robles excels in crafting Rhône-style blends that showcase the region’s ability to produce exceptional Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. These blends often exhibit complexity, balance, and a unique expression of Paso Robles terroir.

Chardonnay: Paso Robles Chardonnay wines offer a beautiful balance of richness and acidity. They often display ripe orchard fruit flavors, creamy textures, and well-integrated oak influence.

Rhône Whites: Paso Robles is gaining recognition for its Rhône white varietals, including Viognier, Roussanne, and Marsanne. These wines exhibit aromatic complexity, stone fruit flavors, and a lovely balance of richness and freshness.

Paso Robles wine country continues to evolve and thrive, attracting wine enthusiasts with its diverse wine offerings, artisanal approach, and distinct terroir. Check out similar posts in our Wine Region Education, or venture into our Guide section to increase your knowledge.

Premium Napa Valley; What Makes the Wines Soooo Good?

Premium Wines from Napa Valley, California are known for their unique qualities, which are a result of the region’s climate, soil, and winemaking traditions. Here are some of the key characteristics of wines from Napa Valley:

Terroir: Napa Valley’s terroir is characterized by a Mediterranean climate, which is ideal for growing wine grapes. The region’s soil is also diverse, with volcanic, alluvial, and sedimentary soils that contribute to the wine’s flavor profile and structure.

Grape Varietals: Napa Valley is known for producing high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and other varietals. The region’s warm climate and long growing season allow grapes to ripen fully, resulting in wines with rich flavors and tannic structure.

Winemaking Tradition: Napa Valley has a long history of winemaking, and many producers use traditional winemaking techniques, such as hand harvesting and small-batch fermentation. There is also a focus on sustainability and organic farming practices in the region.

Oak Aging: Many Napa Valley wines are aged in oak barrels, which can contribute to the wine’s flavor profile and aging potential. Oak aging can impart notes of vanilla, spice, and toast to the wine.

Appellations: Napa Valley has several sub-regions, or appellations, that are known for producing wines with distinct characteristics. These include the Rutherford, Stags Leap District, and Oakville AVAs (American Viticultural Areas).

Napa Valley in California has 16 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) within its boundaries, each with its own unique characteristics that contribute to the wines produced in that particular region. Here is a brief description of each AVA and what makes them distinctive:

Atlas Peak AVA: Located in the eastern hills of Napa Valley, the Atlas Peak AVA is known for its higher elevation, cooler temperatures, and volcanic soils. This combination leads to wines with intense flavors, firm tannins, and good acidity.

Calistoga AVA: Situated in the northern part of Napa Valley, the Calistoga AVA is known for its warm climate and diverse soils. The region produces rich, full-bodied wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, with concentrated flavors and ample structure.

Chiles Valley District AVA: Found in the northeastern part of Napa Valley, the Chiles Valley District AVA benefits from cooler temperatures and volcanic soils. The wines from this region often showcase bright acidity, balanced fruit flavors, and refined tannins.

Coombsville AVA: Located in the southeastern part of Napa Valley, the Coombsville AVA benefits from its proximity to the San Pablo Bay, which brings cooling maritime influences. The region produces wines with good acidity, elegant fruit expression, and subtle earthy notes.

Diamond Mountain District AVA: Situated in the northern part of Napa Valley, the Diamond Mountain District AVA is known for its volcanic soils and higher elevation. The wines from this region exhibit deep color, robust tannins, and flavors of dark fruits and spice.

Howell Mountain AVA: Found in the northeast hills of Napa Valley, the Howell Mountain AVA features steep slopes, volcanic soils, and cooler temperatures. The wines are known for their intense flavors, firm tannins, and excellent aging potential.

Los Carneros AVA: Straddling both Napa and Sonoma counties, the Los Carneros AVA benefits from cool maritime influences due to its proximity to the San Pablo Bay. Known for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the region produces wines with bright acidity, crisp fruit flavors, and delicate aromatics.

Mount Veeder AVA: Located in the western hills of Napa Valley, the Mount Veeder AVA is known for its rugged terrain, cooler temperatures, and volcanic soils. The wines from this region often exhibit intense flavors, structured tannins, and a distinctive mountain character.

Oak Knoll District AVA: Situated in the southern part of Napa Valley, the Oak Knoll District AVA benefits from cooler temperatures and a variety of soil types. The region produces wines with balance, elegance, and a focus on varietal expression.

Oakville AVA: Found in the heart of Napa Valley, the Oakville AVA is known for its diverse soils and ideal climate for grape growing. The region produces wines with depth, structure, and complex flavors, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon.

Rutherford AVA: Located in the central part of Napa Valley, the Rutherford AVA is renowned for its gravelly, well-drained soils known as “Rutherford Dust.” The region produces Cabernet Sauvignon with distinct notes of black fruit, cassis, and a signature dusty character.

St. Helena AVA: Situated in the northern part of Napa Valley, the St. Helena AVA features diverse soils and a warm climate. The region produces wines with ripe fruit flavors, supple tannins, and a harmonious balance.

Spring Mountain District AVA: Found in the western hills of Napa Valley, the Spring Mountain District AVA benefits from higher elevations, cooler temperatures, and rocky volcanic soils. The region produces wines with concentrated flavors, vibrant acidity, and a distinct mountain-influenced character.

Stags Leap District AVA: Situated in the southeastern part of Napa Valley, the Stags Leap District AVA is known for its unique combination of volcanic soils, warm temperatures, and cooling breezes. The region produces Cabernet Sauvignon with ripe fruit flavors, refined tannins, and a characteristic sense of elegance.

Wild Horse Valley AVA: Located in the southeastern part of Napa Valley, the Wild Horse Valley AVA is one of the smallest and lesser-known AVAs in the region. The area benefits from cool breezes and volcanic soils, resulting in wines with vibrant acidity, delicate fruit flavors, and notable minerality.

Yountville AVA: Found in the central part of Napa Valley, the Yountville AVA is known for its diverse soils, including gravel, loam, and volcanic ash. The region produces wines with balanced fruit expression, refined tannins, and a notable sense of structure.

Each of these 16 AVAs within Napa Valley contributes to the region’s diverse and acclaimed wine production. The unique combination of climate, soil types, and winemaking practices in each AVA results in wines with their own distinctive character and flavor profiles, offering wine enthusiasts a wide range of experiences and expressions to explore.

Overall, Napa Valley wines are known for their bold flavors, tannic structure, and aging potential. These qualities make them highly valued by wine enthusiasts around the world. Shop our premium selection of wines from Napa Valley and the rest of California.

The Napa Valley is just one of many unqiue wine growing regions in California. Check out similar posts in our Wine Region Education, or venture into our Guide section to increase your knowledge.

Ultra-Premium, Boutique Wines from Napa and Sonoma’s Highest Rated Producers.

As the summer sun casts its warm glow, there’s no better time to indulge in the elegance of ultra-premium wines. The esteemed Napa and Sonoma wine regions of California are renowned for their exceptional craftsmanship, producing wines that embody sophistication and opulence. In this blog post, we invite you on a journey through these illustrious regions as we explore the pinnacle of winemaking, showcasing ultra-premium wines that will elevate your summer experiences to new levels of luxury and refinement.

The epitome of excellence, Napa Valley stands as a testament to the artistry of winemaking, boasting a reputation for producing some of the world’s most sought-after wines. Delight your senses with a glass of meticulously crafted Chardonnay, renowned for its harmonious balance of oak, tropical fruit, and vibrant acidity. Alternatively, indulge in the bold sophistication of a Cabernet Sauvignon, where layers of blackcurrant, cassis, and refined tannins weave together to create a truly memorable tasting experience.

Known as the symphony of refinement, Sonoma County, neighboring Napa Valley, offers a harmonious symphony of flavors and craftsmanship. Delve into the refined elegance of Sonoma with a glass of impeccably crafted Pinot Noir. Discover a kaleidoscope of aromas, from cherry and raspberry to hints of spice and earthiness, as you savor the delicate yet complex nature of these wines. Alternatively, Sonoma showcases its versatility with exceptional Chardonnay, where vibrant fruit flavors and subtle oak nuances intertwine with grace.

Conclusion: As the summer unfolds, immerse yourself in the world of ultra-premium wines from the prestigious Napa and Sonoma wine regions. Let the meticulous craftsmanship and refined elegance of these wines elevate your warm-weather moments to a luxurious new level. Whether you choose to explore the nuanced complexity of a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon or indulge in the delicate refinement of a Sonoma Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, these ultra-premium wines will delight your palate and create an unforgettable summer experience. Cheers to savoring the magnificence of Napa and Sonoma!

June 2023 Wine Features

2017 Pellet Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

Compared to last year, 2017 produced medium sized berries, which means a fantastic ratio of skins to juice, leading to higher levels of color and tannin. There were a few heat spikes in late July, and the weather was generally dry, warm even and consistent throughout the season. The wines were picked the Cabernet under ideal conditions in September, and put to barrel a few weeks later.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

91 points – “The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Pellet Vineyard, which includes some Merlot and Petit Verdot, offers a rich, medium-bodied style as well as solid purity in its blue fruits, violets, and sappy herb-like aromas and flavors. It’s not a blockbuster yet has rock solid elegance, fine tannins, and outstanding length. It’s a classy wine to enjoy over the coming 15 years or so.”– Jeb Dunnuck

2013 Pestoni Family Merlot, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

The Pestoni Family Merlot is produced from their Three Tears Vineyard on the Eastern slope of Howell Mountain. With elevation that ranges from 1,600 to 2,100 feet above sea level, this estate vineyard sits on a 160 acre estate of which thirteen are planted in Cabernet Sauvignon and three in Merlot. The rocky volcanic soils and weather conditions are challenging, but worth the extra effort as the vineyards produce wines with outstanding flavor, intensity and aging properties.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

This Howell Mountain Merlot opens with notes of black cherry and cedar. This wine is just beginning to evolve but shows so much already with delicious laced flavors of deep espresso and dark chocolate. The mouthfeel is rounded as the varietal proves. Layered with dark black fruit and earthiness, the finish lingers on the palate. With its big structure, this merlot is almost cab-like, but with slightly more refined tannins.

2017 Westwood “Twenty One” Proprietary Red Wine, Sonoma California

Why We Love This Wine:

This Proprietary Rhone blend produced from the most exquisite lots of Syrah and Mourvèdre, with a dash of Grenache, showcase the hallmarks of the Annadel Gap Vineyard: windy, cool and layered in fog. The wine shows opulent black cherries, lavender, duck confit and baking spice. Rich, full-bodied and concentrated, yet still light on its feet with balance and brightness on the palette and the signature Annadel Gap lifted acidity and elegance on the finish. 

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

The 2017 GSM Annadel Gap Vineyard is blended of 75%Syrah, 17% Mourvèdre and 8% Grenache aged in 50% new oak. Very deep purple-black colored, it gives up wonderfully cool-climate, savory scents of bacon fat, garrigue, sautéed herbs and chargrill over a cover of black cherries and crushed black berries with hints of violets and truffles. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is chock-full of pepper-laced, crunchy black fruits, framed by rounded tannins, finishing long and earthy. 92pts Wine Advocate.

Be sure to visit our wine shop to discover these wines and many more like them. If you’re interested in learning, venture over to our “regional focus” tab and learn more about the wine regions these great wines come from.

Discover the Finest California Wines for a Luxurious Summer

As the sun-drenched days of summer beckon, it’s time to indulge in the pleasures of life, and what better way to do so than with a glass of exquisite wine? California, renowned for its picturesque vineyards and exceptional winemaking tradition, offers a plethora of luxurious wines that perfectly capture the essence of the season. In this blog post, we invite you on a journey through the bountiful vineyards of California as we explore the finest summer wines that will elevate your warm-weather experiences to new heights of elegance and delight.

Nestled in the heart of California, Napa Valley is a haven for wine lovers seeking a taste of opulence. With its warm Mediterranean climate and diverse terroir, Napa Valley produces some of the world’s most sought-after wines. Indulge in a glass of Chardonnay, with its vibrant notes of tropical fruits and a creamy finish. For red wine enthusiasts, try a Cabernet Sauvignon that entices with rich flavors of dark berries and velvety tannins, ensuring an unforgettable sensory experience.

Adjacent to Napa Valley, Sonoma County is another California gem known for its exceptional wineries. When it comes to summer wines, Sonoma offers a myriad of options. Explore the cool-climate region of Russian River Valley and revel in the crispness of a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, brimming with citrus and tropical fruit aromas. Or venture into the world of Pinot Noir, boasting delicate notes of cherry, raspberry, and spice that will enchant your taste buds.

Embracing the beauty of California’s central coast, Santa Barbara County is celebrated for its stunning vineyards that benefit from the region’s cool ocean breezes. Elevate your summer soirées with a bottle of Pinot Noir, hailing from the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. This exceptional wine captivates with its layers of ripe berries, earthy undertones, and silky texture—a true representation of the region’s coastal elegance.

For those seeking bold and robust flavors, Paso Robles, situated in California’s Central Coast, delivers in abundance. The region’s warm climate gives rise to magnificent red wines, an embodiment of intensity and complexity, offering flavors that linger on the palate. Pair it with grilled meats or roasted vegetables, and let the flavors meld together in an unforgettable symphony of taste.

Nestled in California’s Central Valley, the Lodi wine region often remains an undiscovered gem for many wine enthusiasts. Lodi is known for its Mediterranean climate, old-vine Zinfandel, and diverse grape varieties. Experience the region’s charm with a glass of bold and luscious Zinfandel that showcases flavors of blackberry, cherry, and spice. Alternatively, explore the elegant varietals from Lodi, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, or Chardonnay, which exhibit the region’s unique terroir and winemaking expertise.

This summer, immerse yourself in the lap of luxury with California’s exceptional wines. Whether you find yourself captivated by the renowned vineyards of Napa Valley, enchanted by the flavors of Sonoma County, embraced by the coastal elegance of Santa Barbara, savoring the boldness of Paso Robles, or discovering the hidden treasures of Lodi, California’s wine regions have something for every discerning palate. Let these exquisite wines become the centerpiece of your summer gatherings, as they effortlessly elevate your experiences, turning ordinary moments into extraordinary memories. Cheers to a summer of pure indulgence!

June 2023 Wine Features

2020 Comartin Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Arroyo Seco Monterey California

Why We Love This Wine:

Arroyo Seco translates to “dry riverbed”, and in the heart of this appellation lies Zabala Vineyard. Here, the rows of vines stand in endless ancient river stones with very little soil, offering the wine a unique mineral quality.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Vibrant aromas of fig, stone fruit, wet stone and racing acidity. 91 Points Wine Enthusiast

2017 Housely Century Oaks Judy’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi California

Why We Love This Wine:

This family is fun, and you’ll quickly see why we want to support them. Amazing craftmanship, dedication to the vineyards, and elegant style from vineyards across California. This single vineyard vintage is grown, picked, aged and bottled entirely on site and has become our signature wine.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

On the nose you’ll get deep, dark berries and spice, which pairs nicely with the wine on the palate. This 2017 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon has silky tannins, with hints of dark plum, pepper, wild cherry and a mixture of berries. It has a fantastic finish that won’t overpower food and is balanced nicely with wood. 

2020 Spicy Vines ‘Zin Master’ Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley Sonoma

Why We Love This Wine:

This is a California old vine Zinfandel that comes from Burnett Vineyards in the heart of the Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County. Cool nights and warm days allow this dry farmed, 101-year old vineyard to yield complex fruit and dense flavors.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

This juicy and complex old vine Zinfandel features rich flavors of boysenberry and blackberry, buttered brown sugar and exotic spices. Excellent pairing for your grilled dishes, BBQ, meaty pastas and pizza as well as a perfectly delightful wine on its own.

2014 Varozza Petite Sirah, St Helena, Napa Valley California

Why We Love This Wine:

 100 years and FIVE generations, this family knows what they’re doing in their vineyards. Arriving back in the 1870s, experience shines in wines.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

The 70+ year old vines we use to craft this wine are intense, rugged and have stood the test of time at their home in St. Helena. They create a wine with an inky black hue and notes of blackberry jam, exotic Moroccan spices and roasted espresso. The tannins are broad and firm with a creamy, sustantial mouthfeel. The wine pairs well with short ribs, steaks and many types of bold spices.

2018 Pestoni Family ‘1892’ Field Blend, Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

The first wines that their family produced in the Napa Valley were known as field blends. Field blends were traditionally single-vineyard wines with multiple varieties of grapes grown, harvested, and fermented together. The1892 Field Blend pays homage to this early California winemaking tradition.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Aromatic ripe black cherry, pomegranate, and black tea aromas emanate from the glass. Juicy raspberry, and black fruit accentuate the presence of Zinfandel fruit which is predominant in this field blend. Cabernet Sauvignon lends its richness to the palate, while the addition of Petite Sirah balances the blend with its lush density and silky texture.

2019 Ty Caton Estate Winemaker’s Cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

Their committed to producing the finest wines made from the highest quality grapes and winemaking dedication at its best. Their limited production allows them to handcraft wines with varietal intensity and balance. 

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

The 2016 Estate Winemaker’s Cuvee meets the palate with rich and full-bodied flavors of black currant, red plums, and cassis, followed by oak notes of cedar and vanilla. These dark flavors produce a lush and velvety textured mouth feel that combine with supple tannins, and leads to a long silky finish.

Be sure to visit our wine shop to discover these wines and many more like them. If you’re interested in learning, venture over to our “regional focus” tab and learn more about the wine regions these great wines come from.

Flight Club – New Wines for the Spring

As the snow melts away and the flowers begin to bloom, wine enthusiasts can look forward to the arrival of new wine releases in the spring. This time of year is always exciting as winemakers unveil their latest creations, showcasing the unique flavors and aromas of the new vintage. Below are some of the top wine releases to watch out for this spring from our recent findings throughout the west coast, including Oregon with our California Classics.

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular luxury wines, known for its rich flavor and full-bodied taste.

Pinot Noir is another classic wine that has a loyal following among wine connoisseurs. Pinot Noir is known for its delicate, yet complex flavor, and is often aged in French oak barrels to enhance its unique taste.

Chardonnay is the white wine that is perfect for springtime sipping. This year, many wineries are releasing their 2021 and 2022 vintages, which have been carefully crafted to showcase the delicate flavors and aromas of the grape.

In addition to the classic luxury wines, there are also several lesser-known varieties that are worth exploring this spring. Here are three wines to add to your list:

Tempranillo is a red wine that is native to Spain and is becoming increasingly popular among wine enthusiasts. This wine is often aged for several years, giving it a complex and sophisticated flavor. Tempranillo pairs well with hearty meat dishes, such as roasted lamb or beef stew.

Petite Sirah is a bold and full-bodied red wine that is perfect for those who love a strong and robust flavor. This wine is often aged in oak barrels, which adds hints of vanilla and spice to its flavor profile. Petite Sirah pairs well with rich, flavorful foods such as barbecue or grilled steak.

Zinfandel is a classic California wine that is known for its bold and fruity flavor. Zinfandel is often aged in American oak barrels, which gives it a unique flavor profile that includes hints of vanilla and cinnamon. This wine can pair well with spicy foods, such as Cajun or Mexican cuisine.

March 2023 Wine Features

2018 Sodaro ‘Felicity’ Cabernet Sauvignon Coombsville, Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

Luxury wines are the result of elaborate artistry, an unending dedication to the winemaking craft. They are tales of age-old soil, lilting hillside and a tender breeze. To capture the novel of nature’s harmony inside a glass…this is what it means to make luxury wine.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Jeb Dunnuck called this a great value at full price – imagine what he’d think about this deal! 91% Cabernet Sauvignon meets 9% Petit Verdot for an impressive, Bordeaux-like red. It opens with blackcurrants, dark chocolate, scorched earth and graphite aromas. The palate is full-bodied and rich, with the signature purity of the vintage and terrific depth. As Dunnuck says, “It’s certainly a serious, outstanding wine.” Coombsville’s reputation as the next great Napa Valley sub-appellation rests on thoughtfully crafted, premium gems like this one.

2018 Hyde Merlot, Carneros Napa Valley

Why We Love This Wine:

Located in the heart of Carneros, Hyde Vineyards sits in the coolest region of Napa Valley influenced by the cooling effect of the Petaluma Gap. Morning fog and cool breezes in the afternoons allow for warm days and cool nights resulting in a long growing season. Through years of extensive research and experimentation, Larry Hyde has planted a unique variety of clones while carefully orienting the row directions to suit the rolling hills. His tireless work has resulted in a tapestry of vineyard blocks with over ten different varietals planted covering the unique terroir of Hyde Vineyards.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:

Dark and concentrated with aromas of blackberry, black currant, ripe fig, cocoa, and tobacco leaves. Pure complexity, vibrant, and focus with layers of lush dark fruit, the finish is juicy and succulent, the refine young tannins ensure long healthy aging.

This was a cooler year with abundant rain in February followed by endless sunny days which produced bud break in the first and second week of March. The mild temperatures allowed for slow ripening-perhaps the longest duration we’ve had in a long time. This factor helped encourage even cluster development, strong yields, complex flavors, high acidity and excellent quality that will help contribute to the longevity of this vintage.

2016 Fisher Vineyards Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County

84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc

Following more than four decades planting vineyards and adapting farming practices to the mountain climate and terrain around the winery, we launched our Mountain Estate Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon. The core of this wine is Cabernet Sauvignon grown on steep, west facing terraces that rise above the winery, reaching a towering elevation of 1,400 feet. Other contiguous vineyard blocks yielding fruit of mature character and balance incorporate a great diversity of soils and exposures, providing additional complexity and unmistakable mountain terroir.

The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Mountain Estate Vineyard is a dark, brooding wine. A terrific example of Sonoma Cabernet, the 2016 possesses superb textural richness and intensity to match its dark, somber profile. An infusion of inky dark fruit, gravel, smoke, iron, game, dark spice, leather and licorice runs through this super expressive, rugged Cabernet Sauvignon from the Fisher family’s Mountain estate.

In conclusion, while the classic luxury wines are always a great choice, it’s also worth exploring some of the lesser-known varieties this spring. Whether you’re in the mood for a bold and robust wine like Petite Sirah, or a fruity and refreshing option like Zinfandel, there is sure to be a wine that suits your taste. Don’t be afraid to try something new and discover your new favorite luxury wine this season.