When we talk of iconic, investible wines, our thoughts used to be limited to Grand Cru Burgundy and First Growth Bordeaux, think DRC and Chateau Margaux. Now though, the world of fine wine has changed and names like Screaming Eagle and Dominus frequently top that list.
The US is producing some of the greatest wines in the world and the market has certainly woken up to this. Their stratospheric rise in popularity has not been by accident. These wines are receiving huge acclaim, yet because of this, prices have gone through the roof. What used to be affordable has now become the preserve of the ultra-wealthy. That being said, there is certainly still value to be had, if you know where to look.
Roberson Wine is proud to be pioneering the rise of the New California Icons: fantastic wineries producing amazing wines, often at a fraction of the prices asked by many of their peers.
These are producers who remain committed to making wines of elegance and balance in an industry that had been focused on overripe and over-oaked wines for decades.
MAYACAMAS: CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED CABERNET
2015 Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon was ranked No.2 in the Wine Spectator Top 100 wines of 2019 - not bad for one of California’s best kept secrets. When compared to similar wines from Napa, Mayacamas is punching well above its weight.
Not only is the value for money evident above, 2015 Mayacamas has fantastic cellaring potential. It should drink beautifully well into the 2050s - this really is an iconic wine of the future.
KONGSGAARD: POWER AND ELEGANCE
California is not just Napa Cabernet. Pinot and Chardonnay are where some of the best value can be had, especially when compared to the region famed for those two varieties, Burgundy
John Kongsgaard has been producing some of the most exciting wines in his Napa winery since his inaugural vintage in 1996. Uncompromising in his approach, he bucked the 90s trend for turbo-charged extraction and consistently makes some of the best Chardonnay in California. These are made in the Burgundian style: elegant yet full bodied and concentrated, with great capacity to age. These wines are made in such tiny quantities that they are sold on allocation. However, although rare they remain exceptional value for the quality.
KUTCH: ETHEREAL, YET ROOTED IN TERROIR
One producer we can’t help but mention is of course Jamie Kutch. His wines were the very first that we imported from California in 2011, a decision which spearheaded our journey towards becoming an award-winning US wine specialist. Jamie’s wines beautifully represent all that we love about the new wave of California: elegant, balanced and terroir focused. Jamie’s wines seem to become more pure, ethereal, and nuanced every time we taste them.
Kutch’s wines would stand toe to toe with many of the greats from Burgundy, but when you see the price point, I know which way I’d lean. We recently offered Kutch Bohan vineyard Pinot Noir at just £425 per case of 12 in bond, that’s under £36 a bottle.
DOMAINE DE LA CÔTE / SANDHI: FRESHNESS AND BALANCE
For lovers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara is home to some of the most revered vineyards in the whole of California. This is home to Domaine de la Côte and Sandhi Wines, two separate estates focussing on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. At Domaine de la Côte, the wines embody the philosophy of Rajat Parr and Sashi Moorman (the owners), which centres around freshness, vitality, and balance. Sandhi is dedicated to making wines of finesse, minerality, acidity, structure, and balance. Both of these wineries follow Burgundian ideals and the resulting wines are world class.
THE NEW CALIFORNIA ICONS
We have curated a list of producers that are making wines to rival the quality of any of the old icons. As well as the above it also includes names like Corison, Hirsch, Arnot-Roberts, and Mount Eden. These wineries are proving to be genuinely good value for money, often outscoring wines well above them in terms of price.
It’s clear that if you look in the right places you can really snap up some bargains, what more could you really want? Well just to stock your cellar chock full of these New California Icons.
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