One factor uniting California is the state's bright, non-stop sun, which helps grapes to ripen fully.
The wines, especially those from broader appellations such as California, the North Coast and the Central Coast, tend to be fruit-forward; they are packed with fruit aromas and flavors.
Smaller appellations, with their unique climates and soils, can leave their own mark on the wines, since the character of the grapes changes with varying amounts of sunshine, moisture and temperature.
In general, the warmer the weather, the faster grapes ripen, and the faster grapes ripen, the more straightforward the wine's flavors.
Conversely, cooler temperatures mean grapes ripen slowly, giving the fruit time to...
Wine Spectator is hiring an assistant tasting coordinator at its Napa, Calif., office. Get more details.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered