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25 California Wines for National Wine Day

Certainly, it need not be a holiday to crack open a bottle of award-winning California wine. However, given National Wine Day happens to be on May 25, it seemed the perfect time to showcase 25 fantastic bottles from across the Golden State, each worthy of using to raise a glass in celebration (or just because).

Francis Ford Coppola Winery Sofia Rosé

Before even enjoying this wine, enjoy this shapely, stylized bottle. Stunning! Get ready for notes of cherry and white flowers on the nose and then a tangy acidity with summer cherries and pomegranate on the palate. $20

Rodney Strong Upshot 2019 White Blend

The upshot when it comes to Upshot? Everyone will love it! Truly a wine for the people, this compelling and truly unique blend of Grenache Blanc, Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc is a party in a bottle. Open it for a dizzyingly delightful combination of white peaches and just-ripe jasmine with a hint of fleshy, juicy melon balanced by truly nuanced minerality. $19

Ancient Peaks One Stone Rosé of Pinot Noir 2022

Zippy and tropical, each sip of the California wine screams summer. Expect great acid here, that stands up well to a little of ice needed to enjoy in the pool. The flavors are really fun too, especially the interplay on the palate between the grapefruit and watermelon. Bonus: a portion of sales benefit Dream Big Darling, which provides opportunities for the next generation of female hospitality leaders. $18

Amista Sparkling Mataró

This sparkler, made from Mourvèdre, looks like it is blushing. But do not let her bashful color fool you as it is an explosion of summer in a bottle. Anything sexy in the summer months ­from roasted peaches to honeycomb to tart green apples are present in every scintillating sip. $58

Fulldraw 2020 Bamboo

No woody notes here, despite the name. Also no Asian spices, pear or lychee. The white blend made primarily from Grenache Blanc is named to honor the handmade bamboo rods that co-founder Connor McMahon used to teach fellow co-founder and wife Rebecca how to flyfish. This is perfect for any date night, as much for the story as for its glorious tropical fragrance and flavors. $50

California wine Ram's Gate Summer Lineup

2020 Pinot Blanc, Ram’s Gate Estate

Nature is wild, and this California wine proves it. It is made with Pinot Blanc, which is a point genetic mutation of Pinot Noir. Like Deadpool or Spider-Man before it, the result is a super bottle of aromatic summer wine with notes of lychee fruits, green apple and pear. $38

Barnett Vineyards 2021 Chardonnay, Catarina

Welcome to the party, vanilla! Enjoy both its aromatics and on the palate with this summer stunner. The vanilla is even amped up by honeysuckle and spice, to boot! For balance, no citrus here, but definitely some peach and striking mineral notes. $65

Thacher 2022 Valdiguié Nouveau

Can red wine be refreshing? At Thacher, which is in California but feels very European, the answer is yes. This Old-World Beaujolais Nouveau-style wine presents aromas of fresh raspberries and blueberries along with maraschino cherries and watermelon Jolly Rancher. As it is enjoyed, notes of pomegranate and cranberry add a welcome acidity and brightness in every sip. $32

Silver Trident 2021 Symphony No.9 Sauvignon Blanc

Symphony is right! This buzzy blend of all things tropical – bananas, mangos and coconut – comes together in perfect harmony with Meyer lemons and ultra-ripe peaches in every sip. It has that zip of acid as most Sauvignon Blanc wines do but finishes so smooth that it is perfect for by the pool on ice. $36

Carol Shelton 2022 Wild Thing Rendezvous Rosé

This has to be one of the coolest bottles of all time. Visually, the wine looks like cranberry juice, and painted across the bottle is what appears to be a gnarly vine or tree with several tiny white flower blossoms. It is a stunner, as it the surprisingly dry wine with bursts of juicy orange and red berries. $19

2021 Clif Family Viognier

Ever had an Asian pear? They are the more traditional pear’s smaller, more concentrated cousin, and their tell-tale crisp sweetness is in every sip of this delicate vintage. The sweetness is in no way overpowering, however, thanks to balance from a touch of spice, citrus for acid, and rose petals. $42

California wine DAOU on the Beach

DAOU Discovery Rosé

A 100 percent Grenache rosé, this bottle is yet another artistic stunner with a unique shape. It is exceptionally fragrant, almost like scented lotion (in a good way) with rose and apricots most obvious. The taste is silky on the mouth but finishes very crisp. Throughout the sipping, there are excellent flavors of peach, more apricots, strawberry and cherry. $24

Palmaz Florencia Muscat

Named for the founder’s daughter, this is a summer dessert wine of the highest order. Muscat, which dates back to the Persian Empire, is elevated to art in this bottle. Delight in how the residual sugar acts much like salt on sweet foods, putting an exclamation point on the fruit and floral flavors in a big way. $65

Linne Calodo 2022 Contrarian

While a person who is a contrarian opposes popular opinion, the wine called Contrarian – a blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Picpoul Blanc – will be popular in the opinion of all who try it. On the nose, there is some really fun tropical fruit, and then a bit of a floral quality in this California wine. That gives way to both guava and sweet apples on the palate. $68

J Vineyards 2020 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir  

Hello, baked plum! Every sip of this sensational summer option has a blast of this oft-overlooked stone fruit. It is complemented with floral notes on the nose and flavors of cherry, sweet ginger and just a bit of leather to the taste. $47

Gary Farrell Winery 2021 Pinot Noir, Russian River Selection

A quintessential Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, the aromatics of rose, jammy boysenberry and cherry liqueur are heavenly. The only thing better? That would be the juicy blast of blood orange, sour cherry jam and raspberry to the taste. $45

Cass Grenache

Wines are called approachable all too often, but this Mediterranean-inspired California red deserves the term. An easy drinker if ever there was one, enjoy sweet cherries, almond, strawberries, itsy bitsy kisses of anise, white pepper and even cedar. $42

Eberle 2021 Côtes-Du-Rôbles Rouge

Ever chill red wine? This Rhône-style Paso Robles varietal made from Grenache, Mourvèdre and a bit of Syrah is a perfect one to try with a rock or two thanks to its notes of raspberry, blood orange and fresh strawberry coupled with a tight acidity and soft finish. $38

Diora La Belle Fête Rosé

Dry and with a medium mouthfeel so perfect for al fresco dinner, this is a gorgeous expression of Monterey, which is home to the vineyard where this estate wine is grown. It definitely has notes of cherry, but they get a zippy kick thanks to the complementing notes of pink grapefruit. $20


Alexander Valley Vineyards 2022 Dry Rosé of Sangiovese

Year after year AVV Rosé is recognized as one of the country’s best, and the 2022 vintage does not disappoint. Certainly, there is melon on the nose, but also killer notes of guava and red cherry. Upon tasting, expect a trio of peach, pineapple and strawberry in perfect flavor harmony. $22

2022 JUSTIN Rosé

Hello, rose gold! The color here is luminescent and truly glows in the sunlight. The California wine opens with a nose of cranberry and peach, but also offers some great floral notes. Bigger flavors of honeydew, chamomile, raspberry and tart strawberry jump into frame upon tasting and there is great minerality here. $20

2022 Rombauer Sauvignon Blanc

Though the winemaker is likely best-known for Chardonnay and Zinfandel, do not sleep on this light, bright beauty, which they have been making for a few years now. It begs to be enjoyed poolside or on the beach with its sunny notes of key lime pie, kiwi and perfectly balanced acid in every sip. $28

Halter Ranch 2020 CDP (Côtes de Paso)

From the jump, this bottle is bewitching, offering aromas of figs, raspberries, plums and even hearty herbs. To the taste, expect a burst of succulent olallieberry, which is a dark-colored, shiny, juicy berry that closely resembles a blackberry, as well as pomegranate. $55

19 Crimes Snoop Cali Rose

Bow-wow-wow, yippie-yo, yippie-yay…Snoop is into wine in a major way. This Cali wine from the proud Cali rapper-turned-serial entrepreneur is a blend of Grenache and Zinfandel, which results in a varietal as chill as its namesake. Revel in the rose petal and the ripe strawberry. $15

Cliff Lede Vineyards 2021 Marla Blanc

Craving a special occasion wine, but wary of something big and red this time of year? Opt for this complex, nuanced, exquisite sipper. Its aromatics offer a bouquet of roasted, spiced pineapple fresh off the grill, sweet pears, apples and a bit of orange blossom. To the taste, expect layers of stone, lime, lemon drops and just the smallest touch of mint. $125

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