Let’s raise a glass to California! This beautiful state is one of the country’s most prodigious wine producers and we can all drink to that! Come with us as we uncork and pour out the details on some of the best California white wines the golden state has to offer!
Related: the best California craft beers
A Note on Choosing Wines
Choosing a wine can seem so daunting. There are millions of options available and everyone seems to have their own advice. While excellent growing and fermenting practices contribute to great wine, ultimately, it's your taste and preferences that matter most in the enjoyment of a bottle.
Professionals taste many wines and their insights can be very helpful, but you know your tastes better than anyone. Use these notes as a guide, but follow your palate as well. Pair this principle with our list of the best California white wines, whatever your budget is and you are sure to pour out something spectacular!
Best Sweet California White Wines
California is renowned for its luscious sweet wines, which boast a perfect balance of fruitiness and sweetness. These wines often showcase vibrant flavors of ripe fruits, making them a delightful choice for dessert or casual sipping.
J Vineyards and Winery Estate Pinot Gris 2022
For over two decades, J Vineyards has been crafting gorgeous wines in the California sun, but their 2022 Estate Pinot Gris is a true showstopper. It features luscious white peach, kiwi and green apple to refresh and delight your palate.
This wine is a complex reflection of the Russian River Valley and possesses a naturally good acidity. If you love bright wines with rich viscosity, this lovely pinot gris is a perfect choice!
With its ability to enhance decadent dinners and savory snacks, this wine presents lovely pairings with dishes such as pork chops or cheese and charcuterie boards.
Ferrari-Carano Pinot Grigio 2022
Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery is known for making some of the most refreshing wines in the north coast wine region of Sonoma County. Their 2022 pinot grigio is a brilliant mixture of bright and sweet flavors that will shine some California sun onto any occasion.
Ferrari-Carano’s pinot grigio has a vibrant and smooth taste. It is loaded with lemon-lime notes, lychee, orange blossom, mango and white peach, making every sip an explosion of light fruity flavor! They use stainless steel tanks to ferment this low-minerality wine which keeps the true flavor crisp and fresh!
This wine is a perfect match for accompanying fresh California seafood and all your favorite spicy snacks.
Stonestreet Estate Chardonnay 2018
Stonestreet Estate is a wine producer focused on making the best mountain estate wines available. Their incredible 2018 vintage Estate Chardonnay is a fantastic example of high-elevation chardonnay.
With its intricate sweetness and underlying bright acidity, this California chardonnay contributes to its rich mid-palate, leaving you yearning for another sip. It's made with a blend of the estate’s best chardonnay grapes to produce a taste that is lush with notes of caramel apple and pineapple upside down cake resulting in a smooth, clean finish.
This seductive take on chardonnay is the best white wine for pairing with foods as luxurious as it is! Serve it with a delicious pasta like our creamy Tuscan pasta with sardines, shellfish dishes, and fresh greens.
Best Dry California White Wines
California is renowned for its diverse range of dry white wine, showcasing the state's prowess in winemaking. With an abundance of grape varieties at their disposal, including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier, the California wine industry consistently produces exceptional dry white wines.
These wines often exhibit crisp acidity, vibrant fruit flavors, and a refreshing finish, making them a favorite choice among wine enthusiasts worldwide.
Grgich Hills Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2020
The wonderful 2020 vintage Sauvignon Blanc Fumé Blanc by Grgich Hills Estate offers a sophisticated expression of California winemaking excellence. The term "fumé blanc" was coined by Robert Mondavi of Robert Mondavi Winery.
They use organic grapes to produce a wine as wild and free as the place it comes from and the result is delicious!
This medium to full-bodied wine has a little something for everyone. This California sauvignon blanc sizzles with citrus notes of lemon zest, lime, green bell pepper, gooseberries, and smoky oak nuances, hence the name, "fumé blanc". It has a tangy start with a flirty tropical fruit finish including notes of green mango and starfruit.
Ideal for pairing with cheese platters, grilled veggies, fresh greens, and pork loin, this dry wine hits all the right notes for a well-rounded meal accompaniment.
Schug Winery Sonoma Gold Coast Chardonnay
Schug Winery celebrates the heritage of wine producers in the United States with every bottle they craft. Their lovely vintages bottle some of the best wine California has to offer, including their scrumptious Sonoma Gold Coast Chardonnay.
This is one of their signature vintages and year after year, it scores well with professionals and amateurs alike. This wine is made up of specially selected grapes from the Sonoma Gold Coast A.V.A. including grapes from cooler climates.
Gold Coast Chardonnay is known for its lovely refreshing notes of white peach, apple flavors, and lemon. It has a beautiful balance of citrus and fruity flavors that simply dance across your tongue.
Try this refreshing California white wine with grazing boards, seafood, and rich pasta dishes.
Eden Rift Estate Chardonnay 2018
Classic flavor is always in style, and this complex wine is a true testament to timeless flavor and elegance. Eden Rift Estate’s 2018 Chardonnay is a bright example of Golden State wine!
Eden Rift Estate Chardonnay celebrates the craft of winemaking by using French oak barrels to ferment the wine. This produces a bright wine with good minerality. It offers inviting aromas and flavors of honeysuckle, stone fruit, and baked apples. The palate also has a distinct toasty nuttiness.
This medium-bodied wine makes for a great pairing with curry or stew, but it also thrives alongside lighter snacks, complementing fruits, nuts and cheese beautifully.
Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Karia Chardonnay 2021
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars delivers some of the most delicious wines in Napa Valley. They have built a collection of wines that showcase the typical grape varietals of Napa with their own signature flair. Their 2021 Napa Valley Karia Chardonnay is a sumptuous celebration of California grapes!
This unforgettable white wine plays on every part of the palate. It has wonderful notes of fresh honeydew melon and lemon oils. It’s a full-bodied white with a refreshing clean finish.
This bold wine is great when paired with poultry dishes like our California chicken recipe, Greek salad or artichokes with aioli.
Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2022
California wines bloom with so much beautiful flavor and the 2022 Flowers Vineyard and Winery Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is fresh for the picking!
This fun floral wine tastes like warm weather in a bottle! It is delicate on the nose and loaded with aromas of fresh fruit and white flowers. The first sip opens up with notes of lemon peel and crisp apple and juicy pear. Sonoma Coast Chardonnay will line on the balance with perfect acidity.
To make this wine shine even brighter, serve it with grilled seafood and luscious pasta like our bacon spaghetti recipe.
What's the Most Popular White Grape Variety Grown in California?
Chardonnay grapes are indeed one of the most popular white grape varieties in California. They are widely planted across various regions of the state and are favored for their versatility in winemaking, allowing for a wide range of styles from crisp and unoaked to rich and buttery.
Chardonnay has been a key player amongst California producers in the wine industry for decades and continues to be a beloved choice among both winemakers and consumers. Cabernet sauvignon grapes are the second most common variety grown in California.
Indulge in the rich flavors and the unparalleled craftsmanship of the best California white wines. Each bottle is a testament to the state's thriving viticultural landscape and enduring legacy of excellence.
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