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January 2020

Our Monthly Newsletter
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January is a time in which to relax from the happy madness of the holidays and take stock in the year just passed. This month we pause to take a moment to address what 2019 has meant for California's wine culture and recall the best bottles that have come our way in the last twelve months, but the parade of new wines is unending, and we start 2020 with a report on recent releases of Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé and Tempranillo.

99% of the Zinfandel grown globally comes from California, and we think that the rest of world is missing the boat. It is an endlessly fascinating variety that we and its legions of devoted fans simply could not do without.

California may not have a monopoly on Sauvignon Blanc the way that it does with Zinfandel, but the grape has found an especially happy home in the Golden State, and the best bottlings rank with those made anywhere in the old world and the new.

One of the biggest vinous surprises of the last decade is the astonishing rise in consumer demand for well-made Rosé, and drinking pink no longer means drinking simple and sweet.

Very arguably Spain's most famous grape, Tempranillo has established a firm foothold in California, and, although its local makers are still few, it is a variety well worth watching in the coming years.

Every year in wine country has its own story. We look back on what 2019 has meant in California as winemakers successfully overcame the challenges of late-season wildfires and wide-spread power outages, and we sadly say goodbye to several towering figures that were instrumental in making the state's amazing culture of fine wine what it is today.

Although 2019 saw a bounty of marvelous new wines, there were, as always, some that left an especially indelible mark on our memories. Stephen and Charles reveal their top picks of the year.

Noteworthy buys in Sparkling wine, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling are featured this month with many high quality offerings checking in at surprisingly affordable prices that will go a long way in easing holiday pocketbook pain.

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