Next Great California Wine Regions

These up-and-coming regions are producing stellar wines at terrific prices.
2007 Wildhurst Vineyards Reserve Sauvignon Blanc ($12) (left) and 2007 Vinum Cellars CNW Chenin Blanc ($12). Photo © Terry Monk.
2007 Wildhurst Vineyards Reserve Sauvignon Blanc ($12) (left) and 2007 Vinum Cellars CNW Chenin Blanc ($12). Photo © Terry Monk.

1. Clarksburg

This AVA, an arid expanse of land near Sacramento, is cooled by breezes off the San Francisco Bay. It’s ideal for Chenin Blanc, an overlooked but—when farmed correctly—impressively refreshing white variety.

Bottles to Look For

  • 2007 Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc ($8)
  • 2007 Vinum Cellars CNW Chenin Blanc ($12)
  • 2008 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier ($14)

2. Lake County

Lake County, just north of Napa Valley, grows a wide range of grapes, but the standout wines are citrusy Sauvignon Blancs.

Bottles to Look For

  • 2007 Line 39 Sauvignon Blanc ($10)
  • 2007 Wildhurst Vineyards Reserve Sauvignon Blanc ($12)
  • 2007 Brassfield Estate High Serenity Ranch Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc ($15)

3. Monterey

Long known for good Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the Monterey region is also becoming a source for some of California’s best affordable Rieslings.

Bottles to Look For

  • 2007 Mandolin Monterey Riesling ($10)
  • 2008 Loredona Monterey Riesling ($12)
  • 2007 Paraiso Vineyards Santa Lucia Highlands Riesling ($14)

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PUBLISHED September 2009

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