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california, carignan, grenache, mediterranean, mourvedre, rhône, syrah -

California is most famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir, but the wines I often find most exciting are those made from Mediterranean varieties, such as Carignan, Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Syrah. It makes complete sense that these varieties work, because, after all, California has a Mediterranean climate in common with southern France and eastern Spain. These varieties have been planted since the nineteenth century, but went by the wayside when the trend for Bordeaux and Burgundy varieties made California so successful internationally. Due to the price of land and of varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, producers are returning to...

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