California wine is highly sought-after for its impeccable taste, due to the state’s ideal climate conditions. From the North to the South, California rests as one of the largest wine-growing regions in the world. The district is so vast that it accounts for more than ninety percent of the nation’s wines. With so many wines to choose from, it’s challenging to know which wines and regions offer the best of the best. To make the process easier for you, we offer up our ultimate guide on choosing the best California wines.

Napa Valley Wines and California wine club

Head over to the famous Napa Valley for a taste of the nation’s best reds. We recommend the Cabernet Sauvignon found in the mountainous regions. The benchlands offer mineral-rich soil that gives the red wine taste that dry and full-bodied flavor. Choose a California Red from Napa or any other mountain base winery if you like raspberry tart, clove, and smoky tones. Popular choices include bottlings like Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle. If you’re feeling unsure as to whether to go with Sonoma or Napa Valley wines for Cabernet Sauvignon, join Ventura County’s California wine club and try out different options, click here to learn more about it.

Riesling Wines in the Central Coast

Each region offers a slightly unique environment that adds to the perfect conditions for harvesting. Depending on your tastebuds, you might be drawn to one area and their wines over another. If you prefer Riesling, we recommend white wines from California’s central coast. Due to the mild temperatures in the area, the grapes maintain a higher acidity that gives them bursting citrus and floral flavor. Go with Riesling if you like notes of lemon, ginger, and melon in your wine. 

Zinfandel Wines in the North 

The dry, warm days, matched by cool nights, make California’s North the ideal place to harvest zinfandels. The combination creates the perfect amount of acidity that is balanced by the sugar. We recommend sticking to wines made from uphill wineries. The added elevation will increase the acidity and therefore generate a greater amount of the sugary sweetness that is so characteristic of zinfandels. You’ll enjoy notes of cherry and fig in your glass. We recommend Old vine zinfandel 2015 from Seghesio Family Vineyards. 

South Coast Wines

Santa Barbara makes some of the state’s best Syrah, with notes of blueberry and cedar that create an eclectic mouthfeel. Not to be confused with its cousin, Petite Sirah, Syrah wines are meant to be enjoyed at room temperature and are for those who like earthier flavors than are commonly noted in Petite Sirah. 

The Main Takeaways

Finding the right California wines will depend on the flavors that you enjoy. Knowing a bit about the harvesting conditions and which wines are grown where, should give you more insight into distinguishing between the reds and whites you might enjoy the most. Although cult favorites were mentioned, we suggest you explore some wine tastings before setting on a favorite!