Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay stand together as the leading varietals produced in California. In 2018 California wineries crushed just over 700,000 tons of Chardonnay grapes and 680,000 tons of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. That is a long way ahead of any other grapes trying to follow up behind; Zinfandel the closest at 400,000 tons and Pinot Noir, just over 300,000.
Why Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are such successes has been the subject of many a commentary. I think the answer is quite simple. These varieties are consistent, and they perform well in a variety of climates. They produce wines of depth, complexity, and interest while expressing their site in many lovely and surprising ways.
They also benefit from beautiful names and market awareness, which is quite recent. Two things happened in the mid 20th century, the market was growing post-WWII, and there was a growing sense of unease about using European region names. Frank Schoonmaker, a leading wine critic at that time, championed varietal labeling, and winemakers took note. They began to name their wines, not by the regions the wines were emulating, but the variety of grapes that produced those wines. These names were virtually unknown in the 1960s, and it must have felt very risky; like an uphill battle. As winemakers began the post WWII planting explosion, they didn’t always know the places that best suited each varietal. Over time and with booms and busts and replants, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay have stood the test, and the numbers show it.
Make sure you have some royalty in your cellar and acquire Red Mare Wines' Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Dutton Ranch Chardonnay today.
2015 • Red Mare • Napa Valley • Cabernet Sauvignon
"A bright and rich red with blackberries, burnt orange peel and blackcurrants. Full body, chewy tannins and a juicy, delicious finish. Needs three to four years to soften. 93 points" James Suckling
$62.20/bottle for Allocation Club Members
2016 • Red Mare • Dutton Ranch • Russian River • Chardonnay
"This wine has a lovely juxtaposition of warm, dry earth along with cold pineapple and fresh pear. As the wine opens, stewed apples and vanilla cream come through. The wine's entry is all freshness. It fills the mouth with its generous volume, after which the aromatics rise up. It finishes cleanly with lovely acidity and comforting warmth."
$43.20/bottle for Allocation Club Members
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