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Top 10 California Wines
December 17, 2020

Top 10 California Wines

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10. 2019 Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc

Wally's Price: $21

The lemon blossom, Asian pear, lime sherbet and candied orange peel notes are pure, fragrant, silky smooth and juicy, with intensity and a lift of freshness on the finish from a lemon verbena accent. Drink now. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 98,000 cases made. - Wine Spectator

92 points, Wine Spectator

May 15, 2019 6:27:57 AM



9. 2018 Occidental Pinot Noir Freestone-Occidental

Wally's Price: $65

The 2018 Pinot Noir Freestone-Occidental comes mostly from younger vines at the Occidental property but is made with the same attention to detail as the other wines in the portfolio, using free-run juice. Its nose is an aromatic well, offering crushed blueberries, charcuterie, Earl Grey tea leaves, graphite, saline, bitter orange peel and potpourri aromas. In the mouth, it explodes with lush fruits that give way after their initial rush to bitter, citrusy, minerally accents. It has a fine grain, seamless freshness and long, layered finish. It's enjoyable now but will age well over the next five to eight-plus years. - Erin Brooks, Wine Advocate

95+ points, Wine Advocate

May 15, 2019 6:27:57 AM


8. 2019 Villa Paradiso Rose Napa Valley

Wally's Price: $19

It’s rare these days to find a premium Rose for under $20. A premium rose from Napa Valley fruit at under $20 is unheard of. The 2019 Villa Paradiso Rose is crafted from Napa Valley Cabernet Franc and displays a sense of refinement and elegance that very few California Roses possess. After tasting this delicious value, we moved quickly to purchase the entire production of just over 100 cases. This is the best value in Rose this year. -Geoff Pattison, Wally’s Napa/Sonoma Buyer

May 15, 2019 6:27:57 AM


7. 2017 Opus One

Wally's Price: $385

A remarkable wine for the year, the 2017 Opus One is a dense, full-throttle beauty. Plush fruit and soft, silky contours give the 2017 its racy personality. Exotic, beautifully perfumed and impeccable in its balance, Opus One is one of the most complete wines of the vintage. In 2017, Opus One has a distinctly red-toned fruit profile that distinguishes it from the surrounding vintages. - Antonio Galloni, Vinous

93+ points, Vinous

May 15, 2019 6:27:57 AM



6. 2018 Realm The Bard

Wally's Price: $145

The 2018 The Bard is fabulous and also one of the very finest wines I have ever tasted from Realm. Vertical structure, power and explosive energy infuse the 2018 with tremendous character. Inky dark fruit, chocolate, leather, licorice and lavender are some of the many notes that run through the 2018. This is the first vintage that includes a dollop of Petite Sirah from Bourn. It is also the first vintage in which a portion of the wine was aged in concrete eggs, which seems to add tension and a palpable sense of vibrancy. The Bard is a blend of 40 different lots, everything from Calistoga to Coombsville, a marriage of elements that works so well. Although none of these wines could be referred to as inexpensive, The Bard is a tremendous relative value within the context of high-end Napa Valley. I loved it. The blend is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 2% Petite Sirah. - Antonio Galloni, Vinous

98 points, Vinous

May 15, 2019 6:27:57 AM


5. 2018 Anthill Farms Pinot Noir Campbell Ranch Vineyard

Wally's Price: $50

The 2018 Pinot Noir Campbell Ranch is an incredibly expressive wine, with a savory blend of crushed cranberry and blackberry fruit accented by notes of fragrant earth, lavender, charcuterie, fir and Angostura bitters. The palate's full, expressive fruit character is supported by a silky, seamlessly fresh structure, and it finishes very long and layered. - Erin Brooks, Wine Advocate

96+ points, Wine Advocate

May 15, 2019 6:27:57 AM


4. 2016 Patrimony Cabernet Sauvignon

Wally's Price: $295

The 2018 Pinot Noir Freestone-Occidental comes mostly from younger vines at the Occidental property but is made with the same attention to detail as the other wines in the portfolio, using free-run juice. Its nose is an aromatic well, offering crushed blueberries, charcuterie, Earl Grey tea leaves, graphite, saline, bitter orange peel and potpourri aromas. In the mouth, it explodes with lush fruits that give way after their initial rush to bitter, citrusy, minerally accents. It has a fine grain, seamless freshness and long, layered finish. It's enjoyable now but will age well over the next five to eight-plus years. - Erin Brooks, Wine Advocate

98 points, Wine Advocate

May 15, 2019 6:27:57 AM



3. 2018 Failla Pinot Noir Occidental Ridge Vineyard

Wally's Price: $85

The 2018 Pinot Noir Occidental Ridge Vineyard is a magnificent, head spinning wine. Inky dark fruit, violet, plum, licorice, hard candy, mint and sweet spice give the 2018 striking aromatic nuance, but it is the wines mid-palate depth and unctuous richness that stand out most. Even with all of its overtness and plushness, the 2018 remains light on its fee. That, in essence, is the magic of the Sonoma Coast the way on which the wines feel ripe but not heavy. Wow. What a wine. -Antonio Galloni, Vinous

98 points, Vinous

May 15, 2019 6:27:57 AM


2. 2017 Memento Mori Cabernet Sauvignon Vanitas

Wally's Price: $100

This year we were thrilled to be the exclusive retailer for this stunning new Cabernet Sauvignon from cult superstar Memento Mori which became one of our most requested wines by the glass. Made from highly pedigreed vineyards this incorporates fruit from the Beckstoffer Dr. Crane and Las Piedras vineyards as well as Weitz vineyard, Oakville Ranch and Vine Hill Ranch, there are only 55 cases of this rare bottling making this is one of Memento Mori’s most exclusive releases ever. Put some in your cellar this holiday season before it’s gone! - Geoff Pattison, Wally’s Napa/Sonoma Buyer

93+ points, Vinous

May 15, 2019 6:27:57 AM

1. 2018 Ridge Lytton Springs

Wally's Price: $39

The 2018 Lytton Springs is magnificent. Elegant, layered and so complete, the 2018 has a lot to offer, but it needs time to fully come together. Sweet red cherry, red plum, blood orange, spice, mint and rose petal open up in the glass. Bright acids and beams of tannin give the wine its vibrant energy. Readers should plan on cellaring the 2018 for at least a few years. Wow! - Antonio Galloni, Vinous

96 points, Vinous

May 15, 2019 6:27:57 AM

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