California on Tour

With The World Wine Guys

“These two seasoned wine professionals have brought us an up-to-date, modern look at what is happening in one of the most exciting wine regions in the world, and they have done it with style. As much as I have enjoyed reading Wines of California, I look forward to the next edition as a testament to the innovation and tenacity of the grape growers and winemakers of California”
—Kevin Zraly

If you or someone on your holiday gift list drinks wine, chances are much of it is from California, which is the number-one producer of wine in the United States, responsible for 90 percent of the wine made in the country. In fact, if California were a country it would be the number-one producer of wine in the world, behind France, Italy, and Spain. Wine is made up and down the entire state, and wine journalists and authors Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen offer an in-depth view into California winemaking in their new book, Wines of California. They are also the authors of Wines of the Southern Hemisphere, which won the Gourmand International Award for Best Wine Book in the USA, and in the same easy-to-read style they tackle the vinous history and geography of the Golden State from top to bottom.

Following a foreword by Michael Mondavi and preface by Kevin Zraly — two heavyweights in the world of wine — DeSimone and Jenssen launch into an introduction that tells the history of California wine from the first grapes brought by Spanish missionaries to the present day. More detailed historical information is found in chapter introductions, which profile the main regions throughout the state. The authors then present listings of selected wineries, including hundreds of tasting notes on recent releases. In addition to major players such as Napa and Sonoma, this book covers the whole state, which is something that no California wine book in recent memory has even attempted. There are also engaging interviews with a host of California winemakers and recipes from wine country chefs, all with wine pairings.

Regardless of one’s knowledge level, Wines of California offers something for all readers, from history buff to home cook to wine geek. It is also a terrific travel guide for anyone planning a wine country adventure. The writing is informative yet down to earth; there are no elbow patches or paneled libraries in sight. Reading about winemakers’ private collections, pastimes beyond the winery, and overall philosophy is extremely interesting, and the section on grape varieties provides insight into what may be the “next big thing” in California wine. The authors clearly did an exhaustive amount of research, yet they are masterful at marrying education and entertainment to create a work that is at once informative and a pleasure to read without getting bogged down in technical terms.

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