CA wine for Francophiles

Here’s a topic my wine friends and I frequently discuss. Say you have a friend that is a Old World/France only (close minded) wine drinker.

Which CA wines do you pour for them in an effort to open their mind to New World/Cali wines?

I’ll hang up and listen!


Arnot-Roberts, Ridge, Rhys, maybe Mount Eden. And give them a shot of prime old vine Zin for the win!

And become knowledgeable about the “Judgement of Paris” to help sway them to at least give the California wines a legit chance!

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Cabot Syrah for the Rhone drinkers.

What you call closed minded could very well be knows their palate. If a person doesn’t like something, why keep trying to convince them?

Good call, and Halcon

And PS. I agree with Sarah. My cellar is 98% French. I know what I like, very well. I’ve experienced much of what the new world offers.

Yes, good call on Halcon, too!

I wouldn’t try to serve them something that tastes French. I would serve them some of your favorite California wines and discuss why you like them.


+1 , assuming you like / believe in CA wines yourself.
But maybe a ringer or two with more OW leanings.

Are trying conversion, or just want a terrific evening?

That’s great advice. Serve them a Sky Vineyard Zin. As old world as Cali gets.

This would be my philosophy. France is unquestionably #1 wine country for me, but if introducing even the most close minded palate to california, I wouldn’t pour them something that approximates France, I’d pour them something like a bedrock (even a $20 OVZ) and talk about california history, weather and difference—not how close it can get to the original.

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My cellar is 75/25 French/CA but I can also admit that good wine is made in CA. Goal here is to share that opinion with said francophile

Philip Togni


Do a blind tasting France vs CA and chuckle when the CA wines win?


“Close minded” is not a particularly enlightened phrase for a lot of francophiles (I would say europhiles, actually). I would argue you’re more likely to find “close minded” folks who only drink california cabs, or disdain white wine of any kind (for example). Most europhiles I know have pretty well developed palates, have gone through varied wine travels exploring a wide range of domestic and international wines, and have focused on wines they enjoy most. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy new world wines, across the spectrum, but frankly there are wines and styles I just don’t enjoy, and it’s not because I haven’t explored them, or am close minded.

I’m as big a cheerleader as anyone for domestic producers I buy, like Halcon, Ceritas, Peay, Rhys, Ridge, Carlisle, etc.

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Honestly I don’t know of anyone on this board that would claim for a minute that good wine isn’t made in CA. That would be just nuts. Closer might be “no wine in the style I like,” but even there, CA produces such a mind-boggling array of wines, I don’t know anyone here that would say that either.


Ceritas, Chateau Montelena, Dunn, Stony Hill, Dominus. I would serve Cabernet with age and not Pinot Noir.


Lots of good suggestions here.

I would add:

Edmunds St. John
A Tribute to Grace
(fellow Berserker) Sandar & Hem
Lieu Dit & Railsback Freres
Smith Madrone
(and humbly, I would recommend my own Gruner and Syrah)