It’s been an arduous year of tasting, tasting and more tasting here at the Good Libations sampling office. All for you, dear readers; and, of course, for my year-end roundup of the top 20 Californian wines of 2015.
I didn’t just sit back and let those beauties come to me, no sir. I hit the road, travelling to almost every wine-growing region between here and Lodi (including Lodi – much less wild and woolly than I’d anticipated). I swirled, sniffed, slurped and spit out God knows how many Cabs and Chardonnays at the International Wine Writers Symposium, an event held in Napa each February that practically guarantees more wine than even the most devoted oenophile could stand.
So I’ve tasted and traveled enough to give a reasonable assessment, at least when it comes to wines from our fair state. I’m happy to report that this was a very good release year for most of California’s wine-producing regions. Many 2013 reds hit the market over the last few months, and it’s proving to be the phenomenal vintage many suspected it would be – especially the wines of the Central Coast, but those of Napa and Sonoma as well.
I’ve broken my choices into four categories to spread the love around. I don’t play favorites – I love all my grapes equally. And it’s too hard to rank them; I’ve listed each category alphabetically.
Some of these wines are inexpensive and/or widely available. Others couldn’t be procured even if you had a genie and three wishes.
Here’s the list: