This past June I took a trip to California with my aunt and cousin. It was my first trip there (though hopefully not my last) and took us to San Francisco, Napa Valley, Half Moon Bay, Carmel, through Big Sur, and then on to Hearst Castle, Morro Bay, Santa Barbara, Malibu and Hollywood. Whirlwind and whistle-stop would be accurate descriptors for this trip! We drove through the state at such a clip that, unfortunately, pit stops to wineries wasn’t an option.
While I did manage to hit up one winery, my wine experiences during the trip mostly revolved around wines enjoyed at meals, except for the two bottles I brought home – sadly, the maximum allowment by Canadian standards.
I picked up a white wine at a Trader Joe’s in LA and a red wine at an adorable little grocery stop in Yountville in the Napa area. I wanted to bring home the two varietals that California is most known for – Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. These two varietals are what the California wine industry pretty much made their name on, which is why I decided to spend my money on them.
So, what did I bring home?
I wasn’t sure about spending half my customs allotment on Chardonnay, a varietal I have yet to love. But, I thought, California is known for their Chards. I had to at least give it a shot.
This wine had such a lovely golden colour, and a pleasantly full flavour that I am slowly getting used to from whites. I’m surprised to say it, but I’m really starting to get into this varietal.
Say it loud, say it proud – I like Chardonnays now!
This wine was just what I hoped I’d find in a California Cab. It was sturdy and solid, with some vanilla going on (probably from being aged in oak) and a bit of a punch on the finish. I ended up having it over two evenings, and loved at how soft and mellow it got after being opened for a day.
Also, it’s amusing to me that, the very day I decided to open my bottle, I saw this wine in my local LCBO. Ha! Good job, LCBO buyers!
These wines were both so enjoyable. It’s clear by how much is going on in the glass that California has had the benefit of years of growing grapes and making wine. I’m looking forward to exploring more California wines – if only they weren’t so expensive here in Ontario!
Do you have a favourite California wine? Let me know!