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October 2018

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It is no secret that California's winemaking success does not begin and end with Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This month some of their less-heralded kindred get a chance to shine, and shine they do! New Syrahs and Merlots lead the way and impress equally for both their quality and often-noteworthy value. Cabernet Franc continues its recent climb to star status, and we check in on local progress with two classic varieties from Italy and Spain before finishing with a passel of new pinks.

Syrah may have had its ups and downs in its comparatively brief history here, but there is simply no denying that it is reaching new heights of quality with each passing vintage and now ranks with California's best and most important red wines.

In its heyday, Merlot was a wildly popular player in the California wine scene, and, while many counted it out, it is gaining renewed luster as the latest generation of wine drinkers is discovering its manifold charms.

It may not challenge the supremacy of Cabernet Sauvignon as California's greatest vinous achievement, but Cabernet Franc is lately showing that it deserves serious respect and can make involving wines that are every bit as good as its famous relation.

When one thinks of Sangiovese, it is Tuscany, not California, that comes to mind, yet a few determined producers are, at least in a small way, out to change the way we think.

Reportedly the third most widely planted wine grape in the world, Tempranillo gets little attention here and only lately is attracting a bit of interest owing to a hopeful handful of winemakers.

The days when pink wine was synonymous with sweet happily lie in the distant past, and, along with its remarkable recent rise in popularity, so too has dry Rosé seen a marked increase in quality.

Riesling, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir share the Best Buy stage this October, and a good many bottlings deserve an extra round of applause when it comes to exceptional value.

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Click anywhere on the article or the title to read the full blog article.

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