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Texture and Flavors of California Wines


A driving force behind the popularity of California wine is their flavor. Generally, California wines are very fruity (that is, they have aromas and flavors that suggest fruits) and very flavorful (those fruity flavors are intense and easy to notice when you taste the wine). These characteristics appeal to a wide number of palates in the United States and beyond.

Try these white wines:

Dry Chenin Blanc:

Medium-bodied with rich texture and a crisp backbone


Full-bodied, soft, with medium-intense to intense floral and lychee flavors

Pinot Blanc:

Dry, medium-bodied with crisp acidity and subtle flavors of apple and minerals

Pinot Gris/Grigio:

Dry to fairly dry, fairly full, with pronounced peach, citrus, and floral flavors


Dry, full-bodied, with rich texture and white-fruit flavors


Full-bodied, dry, flavorful (peaches, floral notes)

Try these red wines:


Medium-bodied, fairly soft, with tart-cherry flavors

Cabernet Franc:

Medium-bodied and dry with expressive red-fruit flavors and medium tannin


Medium- or full-bodied with velvety texture and rich plum flavor

Petite Sirah:

Full-bodied, dry and firm, with ripe dark-fruit flavors and spicy notes

Petit Verdot:

Full-bodied, dry and firm with tannin; flavors of blueberry with violet notes


Fairly full-bodied, with firm tannin and red-fruit and herbal flavors


Full-bodied, with dryish texture and flavors of dark fruits and herbs


By Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan, California Wine for Dummies

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