In a past article, I highlighted some of the great red wine varietals that come from California. The state is also great for many white wines as well, and those will be highlighted in this article. Because of the variety of weather and climate in the large Amerian state, just about every varietal of white grapes grow well here in addition to reds.
Probably the most popular, and by far the easiest to grow in California, is Chardonnay. There are two ways to store and age Chardonnay grapes, and this has a great effect on how the wine will taste after the casking process is finished.
The first way to age Chardonnay is by casking the juice and fermenters in oak barrels. The result is a wine that is rich and buttery, thick and full bodied. There will be firm notes of pear and grape vines. Typically, white wines are not described as earthy, but if there was one that came close, it would be oak-casked Chardonnay. Usually not recommended for a new wine drinker.
The other way, growing in popularity, to age Chardonnay, is in steel casks. The taste is a little lighter, with more citrus notes, and a copper-like taste that usually rounds out the vine taste quite well.
Pinot Grigios and Pinto Gris grapes grow well on the eastern side of the Sierras. This grape is almost exclusively wood-casked, and is milder than Chardonnay. The taste of the wine still maintains the pear features, with some nectarine or peach notes added. Many brands will also feature floral notes. Recommended for people not used to the full bodied taste of Chardonnay, but not the sweetness of Rieslings or Moscatos.
Moscato grows well on the Northern end of the state. It is a very sweet grape that still maintains a medium body. Generally, Riesling grapes grow best to the north of California, and for that reason will be covered in a different article.
Noble Vines vineyard produces great white wines, including their 446 Chardonnay. They typically bring in wines that were vintaged four or five years before selling the product. This adds to the bite and slight bitterness. Heavy notes of granny smith apples and tart berries. High alcohol content.
La Follette is fermented in a steel tank, which allows for the brand to be flavored in a less earthy way. Steel-casked Chardonnays also tend to be more medium-bodied, as opposed to the fullness of oak-casked. Hints of floral and herbal notes, mixed with the bite of a ripened pear.
Trojan Horse wines are up-and-comers in the California wine industry. It is hard nowadays to make a name for yourself in one of the word's largest wine markets, but they have done it through pure taste. The Pinot Grigio has a great harmony of peach and light strawberry notes, with a dry pear finish.
The name of this wine cannot be repeated, but one can certainly look at the bottle to see what it is. This Rose is a perfect wine for celebrating. It is thirst-quenching with a fresh berry taste. No brut, all sweetness. Was a delightful party gift the last time I had a get-together at home.
In an upcoming article, I will discuss white wines from Oregon and Washington State.
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