California, deservedly known as the 'Wine State' produces 95% of America's quality wine output and is the fourth largest producer of wine in the world. Today this feat has been accomplished through investment, scientific achievement and sheer determination. All this from a region that is only 40 years old, in serious wine making terms.
Californian wines tend to be pure and Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon certainly dominate wine labels, closely followed by the indigenous Zinfandel along with Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, Colombard and Sauvignon or Fume Blanc.
2004 was a small early vintage of high-quality producing wines with clean ripe flavours. A shortage of varietals such as Merlot and Zinfandel is putting huge pressure on demand.
2003 saw a return to stability in production due largely to intense heat. The characteristic of the vintage is intense fruit, good concentration and warmth.
2002 A bigger harvest than 2001, Chardonnay described as very good while Pinot Noir was excellent.
2001 Outstanding. The crop was down because of a fairly dry winter and spring, with some frost damage, but a dry summer and warm dry harvest has led to excellent quality.
CALIFORNIA?S GROWTH IN THE UK MARKET HAS BEEN DRAMATIC