11 Exciting Off-the-Radar California Reds

Try something new with Golden State Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Carignan and more, all at $30 or less

11 Exciting Off-the-Radar California Reds
Winemaker Martha Stoumen's Carignan comes from the 70-year-old, dry-farmed Venturi Vineyard in Mendocino County. (Courtesy of Chad Kirkland Photography)
Sep 21, 2020

California grows dozens of red grapes besides its famed Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. This week’s list highlights several of these alternative varieties, with many grown in the Golden State's lesser-known corners and produced with low-intervention methods to highlight their unique character and terroir. And while most of these reds are made in small volumes, they are generally great values for their quality.

Tasting Highlights’ wine reviews are fresh out of the tasting room, offering a sneak peek of our editors’ most recent scores and notes to WineSpectator.com members.

Member-Only Content

Premium Subscription

Join today and get immediate access to this article, and to our entire database of more than 390,000 wine ratings. It only takes moments—but it will help you drink better all year long.

Start Free 30-day Trial

Already a member? Sign In

You Might Also Like

Alphabetical Guide to the Loire Valley

Alphabetical Guide to the Loire Valley

Loire Valley Chenin Blanc is a chameleon, offering something to all, from light versions to …

Nov 15, 2020
Alphabetical Guide to California Cabernet

Alphabetical Guide to California Cabernet

Due to wildfires and a searing heat wave, 2017 is the most inconsistent year for California …

Nov 15, 2020
8 Stunning Riojas for $23 or Less

8 Stunning Riojas for $23 or Less

These new reviews of value reds from the top Spanish region show Tempranillo's impressive …

Oct 29, 2020
10 Refreshing California Sauvignon Blancs Up to 91 Points

10 Refreshing California Sauvignon Blancs Up to 91 Points

New reviews of 2019 Sauvignon Blancs from Napa, Sonoma and Lake County that offer value and …

Oct 26, 2020
8 Satisfying Burgundy Values

8 Satisfying Burgundy Values

These new reviews of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay show off Burgundy's potential for impressive …

Oct 22, 2020
Valtellina's Distinctive Nebbiolos

Valtellina's Distinctive Nebbiolos

Alpine viticulture succeeds with Piedmont’s noble grape

Oct 31, 2020