A Thirst for Californian Wine

Did you know that the state of California contributes towards around 90% of the total production of wines of the United States? Nope? Neither did I. Another interesting fact for you, every state in America produces wine, with some cheeky States using grapes that are grown elsewhere. With the USA being the fourth largest wine producing country in the World, it’s a surprise that many people tend to forget or overlook Californian wines, including myself.

The High Field in Edgbaston recently held a Californian wine dinner hosted by Love Wine Festival organiser Laura Clay. Laura is also a UK based wine educator and wine consultant.

We start the evening with fizz. Fizz marks an occasion and frankly if it tastes like Champagne I’m pleased. The Domaine Carneros Brut 2011 is made by the team behind the fantastic Champagne Taittinger. 60:40 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, biscuity, effervescent and very delightful. The first wine of the evening is fantastic value at £25 and it tastes just like Champagne.

Feta, Courgette, Broad Bean and Mint Salad served with two very different wines. Peltier Road Sauvignon Blanc 2016 and J. Lohr Monterey Riverstone Chardonnay 2015. I always shy away from Sauvignon Blanc, the Peltier Road Sauvignon is a reminder not to judge a book by its cover. The wine is a delicate and clean expression, subtle green apple, green capsicums and a kiss of tropical fruits. Not a whiff of Marlborough here. At £7.50 a bottle, it’s worth having a bottle of this in the fridge for your friends that only drink Sauvignon..

The Chardonnay is buttery and exactly how I like my Chardonnay. It’s bold and in your face, whilst being nicely balanced with floral notes, pear, coconut and vanilla. A beautiful number, full of complexity and layers. It will only set you back around £15.

Chardonnay v Sauvignon on the salad round? Hard decision, both wines worked very well. The obvious choice would be the Sauvignon with the acidity in the salad and the feta, however I am a slave to Chardonnay.

Welsh Lamb Cutlets, Braised Belly, Ratatouille and Salsa Verde, served alongside Bogle Vineyards Petite Sirah 2014 and Rutherford Hill Barrel Select 2013.  The Petite Sirah is a ripe and jammy blueberry explosion with a touch of oak. Petite Sirah is a crossing of the familiar Syrah and Peloursin, it’s called Durif elsewhere.

In comparison the Barrel Select is a blend of predominately Merlot, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Plum, raspberries, spice, oak and smooth tannins. This is a serious wine and would be my obvious choice to pair with the lamb dish.

We finish off the evening with the Coconut Panna Cotta, Passionfruit and Raspberries with the Elysium Black Muscat 2015. The dairy free dessert was light and perfectly complimented the sweet nectar.

The intimate evening was enjoyable and very relaxed. I now have a few wines I can add to my shopping list.

Have you tried Californian wines? I’d love to heat your thoughts.


I was a guest of Laura Clay and this meal was complimentary. As always, my writing and my honest views.

Wine Press Girl x

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