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California Wine For Dummies

Ed McCarthy, Mary Ewing-Mulligan

ISBN: 978-0-470-50654-7 March 2009 288 Pages


Discover the nuances of California wines and increase your drinking pleasure

Want to be a California wine connoisseur? This friendly guide gives you the knowledge you need to appreciate these fine wines, showing you how to taste them, select a good bottle, pair wine with food, and much more. You'll see why certain wine regions are renowned and how to further enrich your wine-drinking experience.

  • California wine 101 — understand the range of California wines, what makes them unique, and what a varietal wine is
  • Review the regions — explore the major wine regions of California and what makes each one special, from the soil to the climate

  • Open the bottle — become fluent in the Big Six: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel

  • Go beyond the basics — appreciate Pinot Grigio, Viognier, Syrah, sparkling wines, and more

  • Round out your wine experience — pair and share wines, learn about the proper glassware and serving temperatures, and prepare for a winery visit

Open the book and find:

  • An overview of California wine today
  • Wine recommendations for all budgets

  • Explanations of wine label language

  • A map of wine regions

  • Tips for aging and collecting California wines

  • Winery tasting etiquette

  • The ins and outs of recent vintages

  • Top wine country travel destinations

Introduction  1

Part I: The Big Picture of California Wine  9

Chapter 1: Introducing California Wines  11

Chapter 2: What’s in the Bottle  25

Chapter 3: Decoding the Label  41

Chapter 4: California’s Major Wine Regions  57

Part II: The Headliners  85

Chapter 5: Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc  87

Chapter 6: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Their Blends  111

Chapter 7: Pinot Noir  135

Chapter 8: Zinfandel  159

Part III: More Reds, Whites, Pinks, and Bubblies  171

Chapter 9: Pinot Grigio, Rhône-Style Whites, and Other California Whites  173

Chapter 10: Syrah, Petite Sirah, Other Varietal Reds, and Red Blends  185

Chapter 11: Bubbly, Rosé, and Dessert Wines  207

Part IV: Enjoying California Wines  217

Chapter 12: Pairing and Sharing California Wines  219

Chapter 13: Making a Winery Pilgrimage  231

Part V: The Part of Tens  241

Chapter 14: Answers to Ten Common Questions about California Wine  243

Chapter 15: Ten Top Travel Destinations and Attractions  249

Index  257