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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart

The Best California Wines to Drink Right Now

Back in July, we took a look at the best wines to have recently come out of the Golden State. At the time, Senior Tasting Editor Jim Gordon noted that, in addition to a good showing of classic Napa Cabs, the list featured a “good representation of the Central Coast—Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Cienega Valley—which surprised a lot of us.” Did the trend continue?

At that point, we’d blind tasted about 3,000 California wines—admittedly no small feat. But now, at the end of the year, that number has swelled to more than 5,100. (We’ve been busy.) The best of the bunch—not simply the highest scoring or most expensive, but those that opened our reviewers’ eyes and stimulated their imaginations—made the cut for the Enthusiast 100: The Best Wines of 2023.

Of those top wines, 11 were from California. There’s plenty of Napa and Sonoma representation here, as well as Central Coast bottlings from Sta. Rita Hills and and Mendocino. And yes, there’s Napa Cab. The big takeaway? The distribution of quality winemaking across Calfornia, which we witnessed in the first half of the year, was no fluke.

Here are the top California wines of 2023.

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